AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — They are at HODGETOWN for every game, but they have names you will not see on the roster.
The Sod Poodles employ almost 30 people from ADVO Companies, a local organization providing training and work opportunities for people who have intellectual disabilities.
“I call our guys the forgotten crowd, because everybody knows them in high school and in the elementary school. But when they graduate and their friends go off to school or other jobs, where do they go? They come here. And now we’re training them to get outside jobs. And this is the best place because they’re getting to do fun things and be a part of that community,” Jeremy Bradford Vice President of ADVO and Hope To Opportunities Foundation
Tanya Kropog has been with the Soddies since the beginning.
When asked what she likes about it, “Being with other people. Being with the group and being with the office ones like Jeff, Sierra, Shane, and Tess and all them and being with them and being nice to be with the office people that needs help, “said Kropog.
She is such a hard worker and good colleague, that she was recently promoted.
“I have to be honest with you, I requested Tanya because no one knows our office better than Tanya,” said Tony Ensor, Amarillo Sod Poodles’ President and General Manager.
It is a partnership that has grown in the past three years providing not only economic opportunities for ADVO clients, but also an opportunity to build friendships with Sod Poodles’ staff and fans.
“And on pay days, you should see the smiles it’s amazing when they get their paycheck. And some of them that’s this is their only job. So it might not be a real big paycheck. But it’s a paycheck that they never had before,” said Bradford
“It’s nice to sometimes when they’re there and after they get through with the bar breaks I come in and say hello, and have a good evening and they go do their business and I go do mine,” said Kropog.
“They’re great individuals they’re hard workers. They have hearts of gold and they literally lift you up every day they’re out here. We love them, our staff love them, our fans love them, our fans get to know them, too. If you don’t get a high five from one of the ADVO kids you’ve done something wrong that day,” said Ensor.
As the father of a special needs daughter, Bradford knows partnerships like this are preparation for the future.
“It is amazing. You don’t think of these things unless you have to go through it. When I first joined ADVO, I really didn’t know what all the future was for her. But working here going through the life with our current clients. She’s got amazing life in front of her. And that gives me more reason than ever to make sure ADVO and Hope To Opportunities Foundation is very successful, so that not only our guys now, but our future generations of clients have a place to call home,” said Bradford.