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October 1, 2020

CONTACT: Melanie Mowry Etters
Communication Director

Smith is a Dependable Employee at Cleveland Clinic

By Zoe Linafelt

STUART, Fla. – Long Island native Christopher Smith has worked at Cleveland Clinic for nearly 20 years, helping his coworkers, waxing the floors, collecting trash and linens from around the hospital, and answering his pager when he is needed to help anywhere. He is a full-time employee with benefits, and throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has continued to work very hard, even picking up extra shifts!

Smith likes his job because at the hospital, “it’s always busy, always something going on.” He works so that he can live independently and do the things he enjoys. “I like to make money, pay my bills. I drive. I bought a condo,” he said. He also sets aside some of his paycheck for the future in case he would like to do renovations or updates to his condo, or when he is ready to buy a new car.

Smith has an intellectual disability and receives services from the Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD). October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, and APD is highlighting the workplace achievements of people with disabilities and the employers that hire them.

Supervisor Lorrie East appreciates Smith’s dependability and the fact that he listens to directions and does as he is asked. “Chris is dependable…He knows his job really well,” she said. “He’s a very nice guy, and he’s funny!”

Smith has a wonderful Job Coach named Debra Athos with Helping People Succeed. She supports him as he works toward his goal of maintaining employment and his objectives that include arriving at work well-groomed, clocking in on time, and wearing a mask and gloves.

In his limited free time, Smith enjoys spending time with his father who lives in the area, as well as shopping, listening to music, and attending outdoor events. He also loves visiting friends in Orlando and having fun at the theme parks there.

During the entire pandemic, he has not called in sick and only just recently took some scheduled and well-deserved vacation time. Smith is a team player and has kept a positive attitude despite the difficulties of the pandemic. He is a wonderful asset to Cleveland Clinic.

APD supports people with developmental disabilities to live, learn, and work in their communities. The agency annually serves more than 55,000 Floridians with autism, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, intellectual disabilities, Down syndrome, Phelan-McDermid syndrome, and Prader-Willi syndrome. For more information about the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, visit or call toll free 1-866-APD-CARES (1-866-273-2273).