Career & Education

Reginald Meggo living life unimpaired

Hearing-impaired steward is Employee of the Month

Sunday, August 26, 2018

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Once you choose hope, anything is possible. That was the thought that reverberated throughout the ballroom of Sandals South Coast as Reginald Meggo stepped forward to collect his Diamond Team Member of the Month award for July.

Meggo, a steward, is hearing- impaired and unable to speak.

To most, these would be major impediments and perhaps reason enough to just settle. But not so for Meggo, who, since joining the Sandals team in June 2014, has maintained a work ethic focused on excellence. As a steward, he provides critical support for the operations of the food and beverage department — from setting catered functions to maintaining sanitary conditions within food prep areas and restaurants.

As a result of his work ethic, he has continued to capture the affection of his colleagues and the attention of resort management. So much so that in 2016, he was named the Pace Setter of the Year for the resort. The Pace Setter award is presented to an exemplary employee who is dedicated, consistent, passionate and dependable. One who greets each day with great zeal and adds value to the team.

In 2017, he was nominated for the Diamond Team Member of the Year award, shortlisted from among over 700 team members at the luxury-included® resort.

When asked about his impairment, Meggo indicates via sign language that he could hear when he was born, but slowly lost his hearing after becoming ill with a high fever at the age of two. As he grew up and learned that he was deaf, he accepted it and never allowed it to become a bother.

This acceptance has ostensibly been key to Meggo's success to date for, by refusing to wilt in self-pity, he was able to focus on developing his other abilities and pursuing his passions.

Passions like baking, for example. Most of his current co-workers probably wouldn't know that Meggo is a trained pastry cook and who worked as a baker prior to joining the Sandals team. This is something he enjoys, in addition to actively engaging others within the deaf and hard-of-hearing community and being somewhat of a role model to them.

Meggo was born in Fort Williams in Westmoreland, and grew up 15 minutes away from Sandals South Coast in a community called Cave. He is one of 47 stewards at the resort who are responsible for setting all resort functions and maintaining the cleanliness of food service areas on the over 50-acre large property. This includes one of the largest kitchen facilities in the Sandals group and an additional four dedicated restaurant kitchens.

Within the kitchen, the stewarding team also operates the resorts central pot wash, and when Meggo is on duty in this area, he can process up to 4,500 pieces of crockery and cutlery used in all the resorts dining areas in a given day.

Perhaps the best part of this is that his impairment has taught him to work well independently.

“Once you show Reginald something once, that's it,” says Stewarding Manager Anthony Rowe. “He just does his work and needs very little supervision.”

Another area of responsibility for the Stewarding Department is the resort's expansive heart of house. Here, the team must maintain clean and clutter-free loading docks, ensure proper disposal and separation of the resort's solid waste and oversee all recycling efforts concentrated in this area. As a long-standing supporter of the resort's Environment, Health and Safety team, Meggo is often a catalyst for the maintenance of environmentally-conscious best practices within his department.

For him, the job is easy because he loves to work and has a passion for what he does. He indicates that he gets the greatest satisfaction and motivation from a job well done. Another source of motivation, Meggo says, is his manager, Rowe, who constantly pushes him to achieve.

When asked how he initially felt about a hearing impaired individual joining his team, Rowe said he had no major concerns as he had been associated with the Jamaica Christian School for the Deaf and was confident about the potential that exists among the hearing-impaired.

“I've never regretted my decision to take a chance on Reginald or any of my hearing-impaired team,” says Rowe, who has three such individuals in his operation.

General Manager of Sandals South Coast Adrian Whitehead notes that Sandals Resorts is an equal opportunity employer, which believes in empowering individuals with disability by providing them an opportunity to excel and to work with dignity within an inclusive work environment.

“Every team member in every department, whether front of the house or heart of the house, plays a key role in the Sandals mission of exceeding guest expectations,” he notes.

“The fact that Reginald is hearing-impaired has not stopped him from contributing, in his own way, to the success of our company and for that we applaud him.”

As for Meggo, he is immensely grateful to Sandals for giving him the opportunity to represent the hearing-impaired and allow the wider public to view them differently. Even though he indicates that there are still those who will shun him, he understands that such is human nature and chooses instead to focus on the positive, like this latest award.

Meggo says receiving this award is a source of even greater motivation for him and something he will take back to the deaf and hard-of-hearing community to show them that they too can do it no matter what field they are in.

As Disability Activist and American Poet Robert M Hensel once said, 'Know me for my abilities, not my disabilities'. Meggo has allowed others around him to do just that simply by working beyond his impairments and living a life unimpaired.

 

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