Tour of EPI residential facility - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Tour of EPI residential facility

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by Danielle Wagner

WATERLOO (KWWL) As we've reported, Henry's Turkey Service is under investigation by state and federal investigators.

The company is accused of exploiting intellectually disabled employees who worked at an eastern Iowa meat-processing plant and who lived in a dilapidated bunkhouse in Atalissa.

The workers are now making a home in Waterloo through Exceptional Persons Incorporated or EPI.

EPI was founded in 1957 and serves people with developmental and other related disabilities.

45-year-old Mike Deck can cook a meal, do a puzzle or simply watch television, just like everyone else in their own home. The difference, he has staff available if he needs anything.

"I like the people here. The individuals and the staff," said Mike Deck.

Deck works two jobs, at Exceptional Bargains and at Pizza Hut.

"I'm a dishwasher. I work there four days," said Deck.

When he's not working...

"I like going to the mall on Tuesday and Thursday," he said.

Executive Director Chris Sparks said the home Deck lives in is one example of the support EPI provides.

"About one-third of the 320 people EPI serves lives in a setting such as this. We have 30 other residential sites. Just a small home between two and four people with staff," said Sparks.

Also, about half of the people EPI serves receive hourly help on an as needed basis.

"What makes the organization a good organization, I think, is the 405 great and committed staff people. That's a misconception as well. People don't know we employ that many people," said Executive Director Chris Sparks.

Sparks said to help prevent what happened in Atalissa, all facilities should be licensed and inspected. He said it's also up to the public to be aware of how intellectually disabled people are treated.

Mike Deck just wants the same opportunities and enjoyments as other people.

Reporter: Danielle Wagner

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