Annie McKonly was diagnosed with high-functioning autism when she was about 3 years old. She moved with her family to Durango 17 years ago from Kansas City, Kansas.
“Early intervention with autism is key. It was hard for her at first and she was bullied a lot at school, but she overcame that. She just has a different learning style than others,” said her mother, Pamela, a special education teacher.
After graduating from high school, Annie worked one-on-one with a job coach provided by the School-to-Work Alliance.
She was trained to work at the front desk at the Durango Community Recreation Center.
This fall, she will be celebrating her 10-year anniversary at the rec center.
“She’s enthusiastic and outgoing and she makes every single customer feel appreciated and special. She takes her job seriously and knows 80 to 90 percent of the people who walk through the door,” said Ann Camp, facility operations supervisor at the rec center. Camp has worked alongside Annie since hiring her in 2007.
Pamela said Annie’s success is based on pouring her heart into others.
“She’s put so much love and investment into this community,” she said. “We never go anywhere without people knowing her. They all call her awesome Annie.”
Annie said she loves her job, her co-workers and working with the public.
“I feel like this is God’s calling for my life. I don’t know what the future holds, but I’m not leaving any time soon,” Annie said.