-Special Thanks to Cook Medical

COOK Medical of Canton, Illinois has truly been a gift to our community.  It certainly has been a special place in the heart of Shawnna Anderson of Canton.  She shared her story recently with the Spoon River Partnership for Economic Development.  Prior to COOK coming to Canton Shawnna was living in government housing and was receiving public aid and a medical card for her and her son.  She was also receiving energy assistance.  She was only able to provide to her son the absolute necessities. 
Shawnna was combing the City of Canton for jobs and was continually being told nothing was available.  She heard about testing for COOK and decided to give it a try.  She went to the Spoon River Community Outreach facility where all of the COOK testing is conducted, and went through the testing process.  When I asked her about her experience regarding the process, she had this to say, “I felt like the steps were as easy as one, two, three.  I never felt intimidated by the process.  It never felt like it was a hassle and I always felt like I belonged there. ” I asked Shawnna about the cost of the testing and she stated, “If I would have had to pay for the test I wouldn’t have been able to take it with my limited income.”  
Shawnna described the interviewing process with plant manager Shawn Lawrence, “Shawn was there interviewing me and could tell I was very nervous.  She told me that there was no need to be nervous because in the COOK family ‘we all put our pants on one leg at a time.’  I was one of the first 30 hired and I knew on the bus over to Indiana to train that I was becoming part of a family.”
Shawnna’s story is the epitome of what COOK has meant to Canton and Fulton County.  She is now married, is no longer on ANY TYPE of government assistance, and has purchased her first home.  She is thankful every day for what COOK has provided for her.  Shawnna shared, “I have a 40 hour work week, I have a 401 K, an option for a CRT bonus, an option for a raise every six months for the first three years, it’s a clean environment, I receive health insurance, and the work I do may save a life or make someone’s better!” 
Another interesting thing that Shawnna shared is when people ask her about COOK, she tells them that she appreciates the fact that in 9 years, when her son is possibly entering the workforce, this company will be around and can afford him the same sort of opportunities.  Shawnna lastly shared that the COOK family isn’t about what their employees can do for them, but what they can they do for their employees.      
COOK has invested $51.6 million dollars in the Canton community.  The Spoon River Partnership for Economic Development would like to graciously thank the COOK Company and the COOK Family for what they have meant, and continue to mean, to Canton and Fulton County.  Shawnna Anderson’s story is not the only COOK success story.  There are many more.  Her story embodies the importance of the COOK investment to Canton and Fulton County.     
Information provided by Missy Towery, Executive Director