It’s what most parents would do for a child, but that doesn’t make Adam Pageau’s 70-plus hour work weeks any less admirable.
Pageau is a driver for J.B. Hunt Transport, in Windsor Locks, CT. He was named one of 10 winners in Cintas Corporation’s second annual Everyday Impact Hero Program, which celebrates individuals who make a real impact in the workplace and beyond. Cintas, headquartered in Cincinnati, provides specialized services, including uniforms and corporate apparel, to businesses.
Pageau was recognized not only because of his strong work ethic, but because of the challenges he overcomes every day before even stepping foot in his truck. One of his two sons, Hunter, has battled a very rare, aggressive disease called SMARD (Spinal Muscular Atrophy with Respiratory Distress) since he was born 13 years ago. He uses a power wheelchair every day, and a ventilator around the clock so he can breathe. Pageau chose to be the sole provider for his family so his wife, Sharon, can be there for their two sons, and make sure that Hunter gets the medical care he needs.
“I’m just a typical truck driver with definitely a non-typical family situation,” said Pageau. “My responsibility is to deliver groceries to stores in New York and Boston. It’s a five- to six-day work week. I usually work six days, anywhere from 10 to 14 hours a day. It is demanding but once you’re into it and have a routine between your family responsibilities and financial responsibilities it tends to work itself out.
“One person has to take the role of caring for our special needs child. The other responsibility, which is the financial responsibility for the entire family is mine.”
Pageau came to the attention of Cintas through the contest. Customers submit a small story outlining a coworker or themselves sharing how the nominee made an impact. Submissions are accepted online. Stories collected have ranged from saving lives, to learning sign language to better communicate with guests. At the end of the entry period the Everyday Impact Committee reviews and selects the top 10 stories to be featured.
The Pageau’s, who also have a 10-year-old son, Cole, and who live in a Connecticut suburb, face constant financial challenges with Hunter. His special medical van, which needed replacing recently, cost $65,000, some of which was raised in a GoFundMe effort. By all accounts Hunter is a bright, spirited boy. He goes to school and charms all who meet him.
In a touching gesture, a Holocaust survivor recently spoke at his school and presented Hunter with a piece of brick from a wall at a concentration camp that she had saved since 1945. The story and picture made their town newspaper.
Pageau was honored to receive the Cintas award. Though he acknowledges his hard work, he said it’s all worth it.
“My favorite part of the day is coming home to my family,” he said with a smile. “Hunter is always very positive, makes a huge impact at school and never gives up. That inspires me to do better. I’ve learned the importance of family, of sticking together and persevering.”