Editor’s note: We’re saddened to share that the Lowe’s family is mourning the loss of Blue, who passed away this week after becoming ill. Blue will be missed in Regina and far beyond. Our thoughts are with Owen and everyone who was touched by their inspiring story. Feel free to share your condolences below.
“You can do what you want to do with the right attitude,” said Owen Lima, an employee at Lowe’s of Regina, Canada.
Lima struggled with employment since his automobile accident in 1976. He sustained a traumatic head injury that left him unable to speak or walk. The long road back to recovery began with him blowing out a single match. Once he mastered that, he moved on to blowing out a candle. Then he began speaking single words broken down into single breaths. Defying his doctor’s prognosis, Lima not only learned to walk on his own again, but he graduated high school, too.
“I got really good at getting better,” he said.
Even with all these improvements, the injury kept Lima from retaining a job. He struggled in stressful situations and with interpersonal interactions; that is, until he met Blue.
Blue is a registered therapeutic support dog – 135 pounds of calming influence in fact – and is as well known in Regina as his owner.
So when Lima applied for a job at Lowe’s, Store Manager Paolo Gallo and Human Resources Manager Maureen Lang agreed that Blue needed to be part of the picture in order for Lima to thrive in his role. Oh, and Blue also needed one more thing – his own Lowe’s vest.
The store team took care of that, and Lima and Blue did the rest, inspiring others as two of the hardest workers in Regina.
In September, Lowe’s Canada was presented with the University of Toronto/Brain Injury Canada Employer Award. Jointly supported by the Brain Injury Association of Canada and the Acquired Brain Injury Research Lab, the award recognizes employers who have assisted brain injury survivors as they return to work after injury. Employers are nominated by a brain injury survivor. Lowe’s was nominated by Owen Lima.