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Story and West win Rehabilitation Services director’s awards

Wednesday, June 08, 2022

OKLAHOMA CITY  — Melinda Fruendt, Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services' executive director, named April Story and Jama West as annual director's award winners in December.

Story is a human resources programs manager who has been employed by DRS since November 2018 and was previously employed by the agency from December 2012 to November 2013

Story has served as a state employee for more than 32 years.

Several co-workers nominated Story for the director's award.

"She has garnered a reputation within the agency as the go-to person in human resources, someone who can be counted on to know the answer to any question," DRS Human Resources Programs Director Tom Patt wrote in his nomination. "She is a tireless worker, typically working late into the evening hours and on weekends to finish a project or task."

DRS Project Coordinator Stephanie Roe added, "April places a high priority on program details and has served twice as a key team member in the development, implementation and testing of HR systems utilized statewide."

"I am very humbled and honored to accept the director's award," Story said. "I couldn’t do it without the wonderful HR team I work with. It is a privilege to be able to serve the employees of DRS and to work at the best state agency."

West is the deputy of operations for the DRS Disability Determination Division, which annually serves more than 57,000 individuals by determining medical eligibility for Social Security disability benefits.

She began her career as a disability specialist in 1991 and steadily progressed through jobs with Increasing supervisory and leadership responsibilities to her current position.

"When the COVID pandemic began In March 2020, Jama efficiently and effectively transitioned her entire area of responsibility to a telework environment, which had not previously been available," DDS Division Administrator Brian Nickles wrote in his award nomination.

At the same time, West "kept her focus on our mission of serving the public" while onboarding and training an unprecedented 120 new hires and rolling out a new national case processing system, which revised long-established business processes, Nickles explained.

DRS annually assists more than 76,000 Oklahomans with disabilities through vocational rehabilitation, employment, independent living, residential and outreach educational programs and the determination of medical eligibility for disability benefits.

For more information visit, phone 800-845-8776 during business hours or visit Facebook @OKDRS.


Jama West won the 2021 Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services director's award: (from left: West and DRS Executive Director Melinda Fruendt. Director's award winner April story chose not to include a photo.

For more information

Jody Harlan, DRS Communications Director

Cell: 405-203-1318 

Last Modified on Jun 08, 2022