One of the first friends I made in Vinton County was Don Malone. I was in my first weeks on the job for the Courier (back when it was still the Vinton County Courier), and I walked into Vinton Industries to get photos of the organization’s recycling program.
Among the first to greet me was Don. He pointed at the camera hanging from my neck and told me he’s been in the newspaper since he was 12 years old.
Of course, he posed for a photo for me with his cheerful grin. We talked about his involvement in Vinton Industries and in the county’s developmental disabilities advocacy group, Champions of Rights. He’s the president of that group.
Don recently transferred to Person-Centered Services (PCS), which is a daytime workshop located on East Second Street in the old JVAC building in Wellston, and he invited me to visit him and tour the building: it has its own recreation room, wood shop, ceramics kilns and lunchroom. Lately the workshop’s attendees have been working on projects related to the city’s blessing boxes (outdoor food pantries).
I still see plenty of Don since his big move. Lately he’s been on the hunt for an old Courier photo of him standing with his old teacher, Helen Heigle. He stops into the Courier office weekly to search through our archives.
He told me he missed Vinton Industries, but knew many of the people who attend and work for PCS and was making friends with those he didn’t know.
Which makes sense: Don makes friends everywhere.