SKIL was created by; is driven by; and is focused on persons with disabilities, their families, and communities. We provide Advocacy, Education, and Support with Customer Controlled services to break down and remove existing barriers and bridge social gaps to ensure and preserve Equality and Independence for all.

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by Andy Rausch

Fort Scott resident Joe Reinecker, 59, suffers from Cerebral Palsy. The condition was first diagnosed when Reinecker was four. “I’ve found out that the older I get, the worse my Cerebral Palsy gets,” says Reinecker.”I wish someone would have told me at the time that when you get older, when you’re almost age 60, this is gonna get worse and you’re gonna have to handle it this way or that way.” But no one did, so as the years have passed, Reinecker has had to constantly readjust the way he approaches things due to the evolution of his condition.

One of the changes has been an increased difficulty in mobility. “I walk a lot slower now,” says Reinecker, who now uses forearm crutches to assist him. “When I was a kid in school I could run and I could get somewhere fairly quickly. As I get older, I’m not fast at all. It’s a lucky day if I can go fast from the living room to the bathroom.”

Reinecker has found a valued ally in SKIL, which he first discovered when the organization purchased KSEK in Pittsburg. After sixteen years as the assistant to the Director of Community Relations at Fort Scott Community College, Reinecker was seeking a new career path. “The radio station was looking for someone to help on the air,” recalls Reinecker. “I’d always wanted to work in radio, so it was perfect for me. When I was 10-years-old I used to sit in my house and play records and dream about the possibility of becoming a DJ. I had always loved radio, so this was right up my alley.”

Reinecker applied to work at KSEK and was eventually hired as a board operator during high school sporting events. That job soon evolved into an opportunity to work as a disc jockey, allowing him to finally achieve his childhood dream of being an on-air personality. “I did a rock-and-roll show from six to nine a.m.,” Reinecker explains. “I got to play classic rock, like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.”

In 2015, SKIL sold the radio station to a new owner. “Everybody who worked there lost their job except for me,” says Reinecker. “The reason I didn’t get fired is because SKIL thought I could do the Resource Central podcast for their website. [Business Manager] Bill Cochran told me, ‘We think you can do this because people will be able to look at disability issues through your eyes.’ That’s why they kept me around, and I’m extremely thankful.” The podcast eventually died an untimely death in early 2018, but Reinecker remains a SKIL employee, working in public relations and generating material for the agency’s website.

His relationship with SKIL ultimately led to his receiving assistive services through the Working Healthy program. This program allows him to have in-home assistance with daily activities, such as house cleaning, meal preparation, and grocery shopping. “I wouldn’t have known about the Working Healthy program if it hadn’t been for my becoming affiliated with SKIL through my work at the radio station. I’m extremely thankful for both SKIL and the Working Healthy program. It has been instrumental in my being able to continue living a quality life in my own home.”