Local man presented Melvin Maynard Award


Jonathan Graves is all about living a healthy lifestyle.

From participating in the day program at Jackson Developmental Industries to working out Wednesdays at Snap Fitness in Seymour, he stays active.

His staff at JDI took notice of that and nominated him for the Melvin Maynard Award, which was presented earlier this month during The Arc of Jackson County’s annual dinner.

The award goes to an individual who shows drive to become independent, is a positive role model for others, helps others and is a joy to be around. It’s named after the son of Marvin and Ruth Maynard of Seymour. Melvin Maynard died in 1990 at the age of 35 when he was struck by a vehicle while riding his bicycle to work at Lee’s Inn.

The Arc is a nonprofit organization that advocates for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

“It made me happy when I got it,” Graves said. “It makes me happy when I get an award.”

In presenting the award to Graves, Rachel Jones, county program manager for JDI, said hard work, dedication, perseverance and positivity all describe Graves.

She said he strives to reach his goal of independence by working in production at JDI and completing work for Aisin USA Manufacturing Inc.

“If he is met by a challenge, he doesn’t shy away. He faces difficulty by seeking assistance if needed,” Jones said.

The JDI staff members said Graves is an outstanding client and exhibits all of the qualities that honor Maynard.

“He is very social and willing to help peers throughout the day,” Jones said. “Jonathan is very polite, well mannered and always offering a friendly greeting or compliment to anyone who may cross his path. He is willing to help others learn new tasks and encourages everyone to do their best to reach their goals. His continuous positivity can bring a smile to his peers and staff’s faces.”

Graves said he has been involved with the day program at JDI for eight years.

“It’s a really nice thing to do for Aisin,” he said of completing work for the automotive parts company.

He also earns money selling his art created in the education and enrichment area, goes on outings to volunteer in the community and participates in a cooking class to learn about healthy meals.

While he already knows how to cook, Graves said he learns a lot in the cooking class. Through that, he participated in a chili cookoff with the staff.

“Our staff helps us do it,” he said. “I like doing a lot of things with cooking.”

He also works on improving his health by going to Snap Fitness every Wednesday to complete his workout routine.

“My dad told me to do that. I just wanted to do it,” he said.

For an hour and a half, he spends time working out on a treadmill and an exercise bike. He said he has lost some weight, and he likes interacting with the staff and fellow members.

“I’ve got a friend of mine that works at Snap. I see her a lot. Her name is Rachel,” he said. “I think it’s a really nice place to work out. It helps me to work out. It makes me feel better.”

Graves said he is excited about JDI adding exercise equipment and starting a fitness program.

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