Rockford veteran, and service dog, find welcoming working environment at Amazon

Local News

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Shannon Becker is a disabled Navy veteran who served in the military from 1995 to 1999, and now she works for Amazon at the company’s new RFD1 facility at 4650 Shepherd Trail.

“The service that I provide to the country is diminished almost routinely because of the fact that I’m a female. I’m not your typical veteran,” she said. “I was serving stateside, providing communications and network support for the NATO forces that were going into those operations.”

Becker was able to get a job with Amazon in February 2020, despite her disability and post traumatic stress disorder.

“I have a hearing loss in my right ear from my time in service, so my service dog is trained for hearing alert as well as my PTSD and other medical issues,” she said. “So many times, veterans particularly are judged based on the perception of how they look. I’m considered by many ‘not disabled.’ because I never served in combat, however I have disabilities that stems from the service I did provide for this country,

Becker has a 6-year-old Olde English Bulldogge, named Soldier, who acts as her service dog.

“He allows me to live a very active, very fulfilling life, with just having a buddy walking around with me, not having to medicate,” she said.

Soldier even has his own Amazon badge.

“He just brings a little bit ‘added extra.’ You get two workers for the price of one,” she said.

Amazon site leader Fares Ibrahim told Eyewitness News he can’t imagine not having Becker or Soldier around.

“She’s a critical part of this team. Everything in this building runs on IT, whether its our printer… Everything that we do is reliant on IT, so to have her as part of the team is a critical part to make us be successful every day,” Ibrahim said.

Becker said she is glad to work for a company that accepts and embraces her for who she is.

“I have never, since my departure from service, had a company that was so welcoming, so much effort being put into making sure that I had the resources and training and the space that I needed to be able to set up and work, and be successful in the work that I was doing,” she said.

As for her disabilities, she encourages people to have an open mind and be compassionate, saying if you don’t know something about someone, just ask.

“‘You can’t judge a book by it’s cover’ is the old saying that goes. I will welcome anybody to open the door have the discussion, but not assume that you can walk a mile in that person’s shoes,” she said.

Amazon says it has a Warriors at Amazon program specifically for veterans and military spouses, and encourages people who have disabilities to apply as well.

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