Arc Thrift Stores honors Garnons Muth for 25 years of service
Garnons Muth has worked at Arc Thrift Stores longer than the doctor who attended his birth predicted he would live.
When Muth was born, the doctor recommended that his parents, Bill and Maxine, put him in an institution. He said their boy probably wouldn't be able to "verbalize" anything and likely wouldn't live past his teens.
But Muth, who has Down syndrome, is now 49 and eagerly spoke in front of about 60 people gathered at Arc headquarters Thursday morning, where he was honored for work with the organization for 25 years. "I love all of them," he said.
"His life expectancy was in the teens if we would have put him in an institution," Bill Muth said.
But growing up with his own family and staying in the community have extended his life expectancy threefold.
"It's impossible to work around someone like that and say something negative," Lewis said. "He's just beloved in the company."
Lewis said Arc has 114 paid employees with disabilities working at 21 stores. He said studies have shown that people with Down syndrome who are raised at home and attend community schools typically have IQ scores 20 points higher than those raised in institutions. Their life expectancy is creeping toward 60, he said.
When Lewis presented a trophy to Muth, in front of the crowd, his arms shot up above his head.
"Yeah," he said excitedly with both thumbs pointed toward the ceiling.
When asked what his favorite TV show is, Muth unhesitatingly said, "Dancing With the Stars." Whenever he sees one Arc employee, he asks when the pretty lady with long legs from the TV show will come to the store to dance with him. They call him "Mr. 100" at his favorite bowling alley, where he plays once a week.
His bowling scores are routinely announced over the loudspeaker at the East Colfax store where he works. His favorite meal: "diet burrito."
"I've never heard him say a harsh word about anybody," said Arc supervisor Craig Koppel, who has supervised Muth for most of his time at the store. "You try to emulate that angelic quality."
Muth is the consummate gentleman at work, co-workers said, often escorting another disabled co-worker to the time clock and helping her sign in.
Another employee recalled driving Muth to an event and telling him that they were running a little late. Muth — a chatterbox — kept telling Gerta Thompson, "Change lanes! Change lanes!"
Maxine Muth said she treated her son like he didn't have a disability, except that she was a little more patient.
These days, Muth can catch a bus home from work. He is no longer distracted by a television at the Arc store, where he works 20 hours a week, but he does occasionally crash his diet by accepting candy from co-workers.
Bill Muth said that people like his son are too often told what they can't do and are criticized for doing something wrong. But at Arc, his son is regularly complimented for a job well done.
Muth began working at Arc in May 1987, and he was honored as the employee of the year for 2005.
Krk Mitchell: 303-954-1206 firstname.lastname@example.org