Bus driver Douglas Cannon honored during Older Workers WeekCape school district also honored
Douglas L. Cannon of Milton was named Outstanding Older Worker by the Senior Community Service Employment Agency Sept. 26 as part of National Employ Older Workers Week celebration. Cannon works as a full-time van driver for the Cape Henlopen School District and works part-time at the Milford Senior Center.
Cannon, 60, earned his GED in 1970 and found his first job as a chicken catcher for Townsend. He has nearly 30 years experience as a truck driver with Perdue and Lewes Dairy but was laid-off in 2009. During the financial crisis, Cannon had a difficult time finding employment despite his continuous attempts at finding work through the Delaware Department of Labor.
In 2011, Cannon enrolled in the Sussex County Senior Employment Program and on Oct. 12, found work with the Cape Henlopen School District.
SCSEP is administered by First State Community Action Agency in Georgetown and provides job training and placement to individuals age 55 years or older. Individuals are started on subsidized, part-time community service jobs which can lead to permanent, unsubsidized employment.
“They blew my phone up,” Douglas said, recalling SCSEP’s persistence in making sure he found work. He added, “They got me a job and I’m still here.”
Employment is important to seniors like Cannon with large families (Cannon has three daughters, five sons, nine granddaughters and three grandsons) and a need for benefits. Cannon mentioned that his job with Cape Henlopen School District affords him the benefits many seniors need and that so many are without.
Vanessa Moore, supervisor of transportation for Cape Henlopen School District, took the podium shortly after Cannon as the host agency honoree. Cape Henlopen School District was honored as Employer of the Year.
“Doug is definitely a joy at Cape Henlopen,” Moore said. She mentioned how Cannon began as a substitute driver and interviewed for a full-time position, “Something about those interviews tell you who’s going to show up for work, who’s going to be on time, who’s going to do what you need them to do and he definitely has those qualities.”
Moore praised senior employees for their dependability and wisdom, and joked that they get sick less often than younger workers. Moore added, “If I had a choice, I think I would hire all older folk.”
Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons, as well as Rep. Ruth Briggs King, R- Georgetown, were in attendance to speak on the importance of agencies like SCSEP and their continued contributions to the community.