Posted at: 09/11/2013 6:04 PM
| Updated at: 09/12/2013 12:11 AM
By: Kumi Tucker
ALBANY -- Marc Smith served 14 years in the army, completing two combat tours. It took a toll and he turned to drugs.
But he found that with Father Peter Young's Altamont Program, something just clicked. Now, he works at the Corning Tower in Albany where he is called an outstanding employee.
"To work and take care of myself and also take care of others that are in my family," said Smith. "It gives me a chance to be-- human."
Smith was chosen out of 59 nominees state-wide to get the William Joslin Outstanding Performance Award by New York State Industries for the Disabled (NYSID).
"I was shocked. I've never won anything before. I was pretty much shocked about it," said Smith.
NYSID's President and CEO Ron Romano said Smith has been able to overcome challenges and is dedicated to his job.
"This is the largest building in between New York and Montreal and he takes great pride and responsibility in his performance and what he does on a daily basis, so he stands out in that regard," said Romano.
NYSID and the Altamont Program work to find employment for people like Smith and give them the independence, self-esteem and dignity that come with it.
"I feel that this kind of population is often discarded and they're not given an equal opportunity of success," said Father Peter Young. "So I feel that they need a special bit of opportunity. The door has to open somewhere and they need to be able to go through that door and be a success with the dignity of a paycheck."
Smith is proud to say that he also works counseling other veterans because he knows what they're going through.
"Thanks to Father Young and the Altamont Program, it's given me my life back, and my family, also myself," said Smith.
In his recovery, he was able to go to a family reunion for the first time ever a couple of weeks ago.
NYSID's award ceremony is Monday night at the Saratoga Hilton.