I want to share with the readers of Wednesday Journal the wonderful things Joe Salamone, his family, and the Fair Share family have done for David, my son, for the 15-plus years he has worked at Fair Share. Also, I want to let your readers know how badly I feel that Fair Share will be closing. In the Wednesday Journal article on the closing of Fair Share, Joe clearly explained how difficult it is for a “Mom and Pop” business to succeed nowadays. This is especially true when the village where it is located does not help and promote small businesses to succeed — so sad.

I can still remember the first day David and I met with Joe to see if he would hire him to work at Fair Share. One can quickly determine David is developmentally disabled especially in the areas of communication. One can just as quickly determine Joe has a big heart and is a genuinely caring person. Joe never was concerned whether David could do the job of stocking shelves. His only concern was would David be safe and enjoy working at Fair Share.

David really loved his job stocking shelves. Even better, he truly felt the family atmosphere Joe, Phillip and the Fair Share family created at the store. For the first time in his life he was able to talk with Joe, Phillip, Daisy, and other employees, not just his own family. This was because of the way he was treated and cared for by his Fair Share family. David was not the best of employees and was sometimes difficult. I remember times Joe would contact me because of his unacceptable and inappropriate behavior. Joe was not mad, nor did he justifiably want to fire David. He wanted to work with me to eliminate the bad-for-business unacceptable behavior. 

The Fair Share family led by Joe, Phillip, and Daisy have always helped David and looked out for him. Fair Share, and David’s experience there, are among the great joys of David’s limited life. Even when he is not working, David comes to the store several times a day to say hello to his fellow workers and straighten up the shelves. 

As a parent of a 47-year-old developmentally disabled child, I can never adequately express how grateful I am for all the Fair Share family has done for David.

I want to sincerely thank Joe, Phillip, Daisy and all current and past Fair Share employees for all they have done to make David’s life fuller and more enjoyable. David and I will really miss Fair Share.

Tom Zapler is a resident of Oak Park.

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