Man with special needs gets dream job with New Philadelphia Fire Department

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UHRICHSVILLE, Ohio-- It’s a typical day for Cliff Jackson: watering flowers and doing landscaping at Stepping Stone Workshop in Uhrichsville. He is in a program for the developmentally disabled.

But in June, the 23-year-old will be working double duty; starting a job that has always been his passion.

"I always wanted to save people and be like my friends. And my wish finally came true, I finally got it," Jackson said.

Jackson interviewed for a job with the New Philadelphia Fire Department last week to work in maintenance.

Cliff said he was nervous, selling himself for a job to work alongside his heroes. But said he had a support team that made him stand out from the rest.

"I went in there, shook their hands and looked them in the eyes, answered their questions, dressed up," Cliff said.

"Learning how to introduce himself. He had never thought about any of that stuff before," said Georgia Warner, Cliff’s Stepping Stone supervisor.

Cliff’s mom Tammy Jackson said on Tuesday, she got the call that her son got the job, but had to keep it a secret.

"....a whole evening because the fire department wanted to be the ones to tell Cliff the news themselves."

"The day that we told Cliff that he got the job was one of the best days I’ve had here at the fire department. It was very exciting to see him react the way he did and be as happy and proud as he was that day," said Captain Matt Tharp with the New Philadelphia Fire Department.

Tharp said cliff Beat out two other candidates. He'll be working at the departments new $5 million fire station on Front Street helping with new landscaping, cleaning and handy work.

His mom said Cliff slept soundly in his new uniform T-shirt, knowing that his dreams have finally been fulfilled, thanks to the fire department..

"They're letting the world know that these kids are capable of doing whatever they want to do," Tammy Jackson said.

"The fire department was my wish and my wish came true," Cliff said.

He will work 18 hours a week at the firehouse and will still keep the job at the workshop.

When asked if the job with department was temporary, Captain Tharp said its Cliff’s job for as long as he wants.

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