Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters Local 255 Carpenter Shows Courage in the Face of Disability

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Brian Wythe embodies the spirit of National Disability Employment Awareness Month.

Brian Wythe

"All I need is the first person to believe in me. Then, I guarantee I can prove that my disability doesn’t define me.” - Brian Wythe.

The word “can’t” is not quite in Brian Wythe’s vocabulary. At 33 years old, this May’s Landing resident has 14 years of carpentry experience under his belt. Wythe was born with a disability in his left hand, leaving him to manage his day-to-day activities and the physical labor of carpentry with two fingers and a left arm that is shorter than his right.

“You have to give people a chance to prove themselves,” said Wythe. “If you ask the people that work with me, I bet they’ll tell you that I’m faster than most of my coworkers. All I need is the first person to believe in me. Then, I guarantee I can prove that my disability doesn’t define me.”

Wythe’s story stands out among others across the country during October, declared National Disability Employment Awareness Month by President Barack Obama. “Americans with disabilities, like all Americans, are entitled to not only full participation in our society, but also full opportunity in our society,” Obama said. “Their talents and contributions are vital to the strength of our nation's workforce and our future prosperity. Together, we can ensure persons living with disabilities have equal access to employment and to inclusive, supportive workplaces.”

When Wythe was born, his left hand was entirely without fingers. While still a baby, doctors used corrective surgery to split his hand into two sections that would function separately.

Wythe worked as a custom house builder for eight years before joining the Union Local #255. It didn’t take long for Bill Sproule, New Jersey regional manager, Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters ( , to see Wythe’s abilities on the job, setting him up with work just a week after his entrance exam. When he met Wythe, one of his duties was overseeing and mentoring apprentices.

“Despite his disability, I saw a carpenter who was highly skilled, tenacious and a great worker who got along with everyone,” Sproule said.

Even with his physical setback, Wythe actively participated in wrestling, soccer and football throughout his youth and is an avid weightlifter. He and his wife, Nicole, have two children, Gavin and Mia.

About the Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters
The Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters is the premiere skilled trade organization representing carpenters in New Jersey and New York State. As the source for representation, benefits, and training for 30,000 members in every craft in our trade, the larger, stronger NRCC allows our craftsmen and women to speak with one powerful voice to developers, businesses and government officials. For more information, visit

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Tom Peric
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