TARGET Center 20th Anniversary Celebration Opening Ceremony: Dr. Denise Decker

Uploaded by usda on 15.10.2012

Very good.

The Target staff has often heard me say
that our customers are the focus of everything that
we do.
Woman gestures with her hands.
And the staff, I'm sure is chuckling right now
because they've heard me say it more than once.
And we have the pleasure of introducing or I have the
pleasure of introducing to you one of our
long standing customers.
Dr. Denise Decker is going to share her experiences
with the Target Center with you, but let me tell
you about Dr. Decker.
Dr. Denise Decker is a Legislative Affairs
Specialist in the Legislative Affairs
Division of USDA's Natural Resources Conservation
Previously, in the Program's Deputy area, she
led the Farm Bill Public Comments team and the
national effort to provide conservation information
to Spanish speaking populations.
She has also managed student employment and
disability recruitment for USDA.

Dr. Decker is formerly a Fulbright scholar, she
speaks French and Spanish and as an international
training officer for the US Agency for
International Development, she designed and conducted
disaster assistant workshops for Latin America and Africa.
A national advocate on behalf of people with
disabilities, she served on the USDA Secretary's
Advisory Committee for Employees with
Disabilities and was Co-founder and past
President of the Association of People with
Disabilities in Agriculture.
Recognitions she has received includes two USDA
Honor Awards and the NRCS Workforce Diversity Award
and she says that her Seeing Eye dog, "Wander" is
among her very best friends.
I introduce to you Dr. Denise Decker, please
receive her.


She is escorted to the stage.
Thank you.

Good morning everyone.
Let me first say what an honor it is for me to be
with all of you today to wish the Target Center
"Happy Birthday" on its twentieth anniversary.
D'Ann mentioned that I was past President of the
Association for People with Disabilities in
Agriculture or as we used to call it APDA.
And during that time I had the privilege of serving
on the team that founded and designed Target.
Now, like any growing child we weren't sure how
Target was going to develop.
But now we know, now we all know.
Woman gestures with her hands.
All of our hard work, our networking, our visiting
other access centers, our planning, our
strategizing, all of that truly paid off.
Target has even grown beyond the founding team's vision.

Target has met needs and enhanced the workforce in
ways that even the founding team couldn't have imagined.
Target has been a resounding success.
It's an adult now. It can stand on its own.

We've heard this morning about the assistive
technology guidance and advice that Target
provides and yes it is are source for USDA but what I
want to stress is that it has truly become a
resource for the Washington DC area and beyond.

Because of Target's unique role, thousands
of individuals with disabilities are
performing jobs and making meaningful contributions
today that they might not have otherwise made.
She turns over page of paper in her hand.
In fact, and we heard this morning from Morris about
the computer accommodation program that is a part of
the Department of Defense in the Memorandum of
Understanding that USDA has with that program
and all the accommodations that have been provided through
Also the 4500 other kinds of services and
information requests that Target has filled.
Significantly Target offers chairs and other
help for people who have ergonomic needs.
Also people who may have temporary or even
permanent injuries can borrow scooters from Target.

And let's not forget as we saw this morning, when
Nancy opened our ceremonies, the wonderful
Sign Language Office that provides qualified
interpreters for our employees and customers
who need that service.
Woman gestures with her hands.
Yes, Target provides all these things and they are
very important but, much more important is the fact
that Target has enhanced dignity and
independence for those of us with disabilities.
Sometimes, if you're like me, and you hear numbers in the
thousands, the words can go "whoosh" and go
right out of your head.
But what I'm going to ask you to do this morning is
imagine those numbers as a parade of individuals
walking across this very stage in the thousands and the
words will take on new meaning for all of us.
In my own experience with NRCS, Target has given me a
place to work when the office was being renovated
and I needed an accessible location with assistive
The talking and Braille technology I use on my
computer enables me to function in both Spanish
and English as needed.
I create briefing documents, spreadsheets,
summaries and reports that are distributed nationwide.

If any part of the technology breaks down, the
knowledgeable Target Center staff is there to help,
or if I need to learn a new access skill, the
Target staff helps or contracts for a trainer.
She turns the page of paper in her hands.
Could I do the work I do without the help of Target?

Perhaps, if I had to.
But, it would be a whole lot harder.
And this is why I offer a heartfelt thanks to Target
and to its current and former staff for all it
has done and for all it will do.
Bruce McFarlane is here, our first Director,
thank you to Bruce and
Cathy Yang, also who has been in the Center
with Bruce, thank you to Cathy.
Suzie Prior, one of our previous sign language
And I also want to honor Kevin Curtain's memory at
this time.
I congratulate Target on its phenomenal success, this
is a truly worthwhile celebration and in
closing, I know you all join me, let's say "Happy
Birthday Target" and many, many more!

Thank you.