What began as a prayer ended up being a blessing

Sherry Franklin, Retired
What began as a prayer ended up being a blessing.

It was 2007 and I was looking for a part-time job to help fill some gaps as I tried to start my own business. I put the need on a prayer list and at a meeting with a church group I was told of a part-time position at a new business close to my home. That business was New Danville, which I had not heard of, so I applied for the job as a driver. I guess I have held a dozen roles since then, and each one has helped make me a better person. The Wranglers have a way of doing that.

In about three years, I was working full-time in the day program. I guess most people think of me as the “woodshop lady,” which began at about that time. One of our board members made pens and we picked up the project in our woodshop. And to think, we’re now looking at making distinctive executive pens as one of our job creators. It was in pen making that we created the “Ooops Box” where mistakes in making were placed. The Wranglers realized that it is okay to make mistakes.  Oooops.  Put it in the box and move on.

So much has changed over the years, and I am proud to have been part of it all.  People have said that I was a “Jill of All Trades,” and it felt that way at times.  I had the pleasure of doing so many different assignments. Each one had a way of shaping me and teaching me a lot about life and about others. There were times when I was driving routes that some of the Wranglers would get in the van and it was clear that they had had a rough start to their day at home. I was determined to help give them a new, brighter start to their day.  That gave me a brighter start to my days, too.

At different times over the years, people – friends and family – would encourage me to look at other job opportunities. I couldn’t. There is nothing like working here. It chokes me up when I reflect on how much this job, the Wranglers, and everyone I’ve worked with here has meant to me.  But, it’s family, so no wonder.

I didn’t know anything about this world, the world of adults with IDD, when I began working at New Danville. I’ve learned so much along the way. I’ve learned how to do a variety of jobs, and I’ve learned patience for myself. I wished everyone could learn what I have learned by working with the Wranglers and the New Danville family: be nice, slow down, strike up conversations with people with IDD – they are funny, insightful  — and listen. Listening…it goes a long way.

Sherry began her career at New Danville in 2007 as a part-time driver. Her work ethic, empathy and compassion moved her through a multitude of roles. She resigned in June 2021 but will remain in the hearts and lives of the New Danville family.

I got married twice. On the same day.



Nicole Martinez, Program Coordinator
I got married twice. On the same day. I did it because I wanted all my friends to be part of my special day, and my friends are the Wranglers of New Danville. My then-fiancé suggested we have two weddings because he could tell something about our wedding plans that was bothering me. Who would have thought that a receptionist job in a field that I had never been in before would affect me so?  Not me, that’s for sure.  But, it has.

Because of a forced career change, I sought the help of a temp agency to find a job. I received a call after my interview with the agency rep; she called me while I was still in the parking lot after the interview. She said that she felt I should check out a receptionist position at New Danville. “Look them up before you go,” she said. I did. I saw a photo of Seth, one of the Wranglers, and I was moved. I had never heard of New Danville and when I arrived for my interview, I thought “Is that a barn?” The environment here is wonderful.
I was turned down for the job, actually. The then-CEO thought the job would not challenge me enough. But before I made it back to my car…I decided. I returned and told her that I wanted the job and that I would do the best I could. My heart told me I wanted this job, and one of the pleasures of the job is having a team of people who have that heart, too. Together we provide a safe place where the Wranglers can be themselves.

I don’t just enjoy my work. I am “in joy” working here. It seems like everyone is. And that is why I had two weddings.
My friends, the Wranglers, knew about my wedding. They asked for invitations. I couldn’t not invite them, but the regular wedding would not provide them the specialness that they give me all the time. So, with my fiancé’s support, we held a wedding at New Danville. My makeup stylist agreed to do the bridesmaid’s makeup, everyone got invitations and learned how to RSVP, they got dressed up for the day, one Wrangler gave me away, Wranglers served as ushers and groomsmen and maids of honor…we even had our own version of “Say Yes to the Dress” when I took some of the girls with me to pick out the dress. I had so much support from vendors and services. My friends here do so much for me every day that I had to do something special for, and with them.
My wedding is a love story unlike most. Not only the love story of my husband and me, but also the love story of me and my New Danville friends.

Nicole Martinez joined New Danville in October 2016. She quickly gained new responsibilities and now leads our day programs, known as day habilitation.

Join Our Mailing List

For updates about New Danville events, store specials, and more

We respect your privacy.