Lighting Up His World

Aaron Hartman has an infectious smile and a fierce hug. It’s no wonder his Publix customers and co-workers enjoy seeing him. “Aaron just brightens up the store,” says Publix Event Planner Robert Bowen. Aaron has worked for ten years at the Toco Hills location, with the help of Frazer Center’s supported employment program for adults with special needs.

Before finding the Frazer Center, Aaron held several different jobs. His parents did a lot of knocking on doors and advocating on his behalf. In his mid-30s, Aaron got into a job training program where he was told he had no promise and was essentially cast aside. Unwilling to accept this fate, Aaron’s father continued to champion for his son. Eventually, a caring and committed advocate at the Georgia Department of Labor connected Aaron with the Frazer Center.

After about three months in the program, the Frazer Center was able to secure a job for Aaron with Publix. He started as a bagger, which turned out not to be the greatest fit for Aaron. To the credit of the Publix management, they recognized the impact Aaron had on their customers and wanted to find a way to keep him on, so they created a greeter position just for him.

During his tenure at Publix, Aaron has had to deal with a few serious health issues that have prevented him from working for months at a time. Frazer representatives worked with Publix and Aaron to ensure his job would be waiting for him when he was healthy enough to return. Our staff continues to engage with Aaron to make sure he and Publix are happy working together.

If the reaction of customers is any indication, all is well.