• Jimmy Campbell worked at Job One from Day One

  • When he retired, Jimmy Campbell wasn’t given just the traditional watch.

    He got a new harmonica, too.

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  • When he retired, Jimmy Campbell wasn’t given just the traditional watch.

    He got a new harmonica, too.

    It was part of a sendoff for the last original employee at JobOne, which provides employment for adults with developmental disabilities.

    Campbell, harmonica in hand when he would step off the bus in xthe morning, was a steady presence for 44 years.

    “I knew that the day was ready when he came in playing that harmonica,” said Kelly Logan, JobOne’s vice president of human resources.

    He started on Sept. 15, 1969, at the Jackson County Sheltered Workshop on 23rd Street off Kingsridge in Independence. An aunt, Margaret Cook, was determined to find fulfilling work for him.

    “She started taking him ... when there wasn’t even a workshop,” said Campbell’s mother, Corky.

    That workshop became IBS Industries; the “IBS” was for Independence and Blue Springs, and it had facilities in both cities. Two years ago, IBS merged with Foundation Workshop Inc. in Grandview and became JobOne.

    Campbell, 64. who lives in Wellington and would ride a county-funded bus to work each day, worked mostly at the Independence site on Truman Road. He did mainly the work IBS and JobOne traditionally have focused on – one-step and two-step processes to make things such a medical kits.

    “He’s done just about everything since he was hired from day one,” Logan said.

    His mother says Campbell, who has Down syndrome, got a good deal of out working and said he’s always found the idea of earning a paycheck “very, very important.”

    “Yeah, that’s exactly why we’re here,” Logan said.

    Logan adds that he also brought a playful personality to the workplace.

    “He’s a character, and he just make you smile,” she said.

    Logan and Campbell’s mother both said he’d just as soon keep working, but physically he just can’t at this point.

    “And you know he does miss it,” Logan said.

    Last week, JobOne threw a retirement reception for him.

    “I’m happy about everything they’ve done for him,” his mother said.

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