News & Information > News Releases

October 1, 2020

CONTACT: Melanie Mowry Etters
Communication Director

Landing a Sweet Job

By Tim Brown

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Blake Struss is an important team member at Bruster's Real Ice Cream Atlantic Boulevard location, a popular stop for ice cream on the way to Jacksonville Beach. Over the past eight years, his duties have included everything from cleaning windows, spraying down patio areas, setting up umbrellas, and making sure the waffle cone batter is just right.

Struss says these work skills have made a big difference in his life. “I love my job at Bruster's because it makes me more independent and working helps me be able to afford to live in my one-bedroom apartment.” He adds he would love to get married someday and have a family of his own.

Struss has a developmental disability. October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, and APD is highlighting the workplace achievements of people with disabilities and the employers that hire them.

Working at an ice cream shop is a dream job to some and Struss admits it does have many benefits. He gets free ice cream at the end of his shift and his favorite flavors are Chocolate Buckey and Graham Central Station. He also enjoys sampling new flavors as they are introduced.

Along with a delicious product, Struss says he has made some amazing friends at Bruster's. Owner Tom Devenny says his smile and work ethic are hard to beat. “Blake is the perfect person to work with and nobody can keep up with him.”

Struss works three days a week and Devenny says he never worries about the store when Struss is working.

In his spare time, Struss enjoys Pine Castle activities such as the music club, safety patrol and daily chair exercise. At home, he helps his mom take care of rescued dogs and cats. He also enjoys bowling and his favorite dance is the Night to Shine event sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation.

“We are proud to have Blake in our Bruster's family and we thank him for making us a better business and better people,” Devenny said.

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).