On November 17th, before the storm began, Direct Support Professional Laura Webster headed into her work at the Geary IRA like any other day, not knowing she would be snowed in for three days. By the afternoon of Tuesday, November 18th, the storm was in full fury and fellow DSP, Cheryl Cole was determined to try to get to the IRA as well. She knew that Laura had already been on duty for over 24 hours. There was little food left at the IRA and Laura was growing concerned. Cheryl and her husband, Ronald, set off on a journey to the store and purchased food and hygiene items to bring to the IRA.
Cheryl and Ronald were getting close to Geary IRA when they were stopped by the police and told they were not allowed to drive any further. However their determination remained! Parking their car and walking seemed to be the only way. They were able to walk through a route made by a plow until they hit a road block. The snow was half way up their legs, but Ronald did not allow that to keep his wife from getting to the IRA. He shoveled a path to their destination and both arrived safely. Cheryl stayed overnight to help at the house.
Wednesday, day 2 of the storm, Ronald returned to pick up Cheryl and do some grocery shopping for the house. But, on their way back they were stopped again and told they could not continue driving. Knowing the people at the IRA and the staff needed these supplies; they began to put as many items as possible on a sled and walked to the house. While Cheryl stayed another night to work with the staff, taking turns napping and shoveling, her husband went back out into the battle field to take care of their family.
On day 3 of the storm, Ronald picked up a staff member, Renee Harris. He and Renee went to Parkview Pharmacy, picked up medications and eventually arrived at the site, safe and sound. This was quite an adventure for all; everyone worked hard to maintain the health and safety of the people we serve.
By Day 2 of the storm, travel bans were issued throughout the city and its surrounding areas. Some people we serve were running low on many items including medications. Due to the travel ban, the only means for some staff to travel to their jobs was via the National Guard. However by 7:00 AM the staff eagerly waiting at 180 Oak Street and ready to help had still not been picked up by the National Guard.
Deciding they couldn’t wait any longer to help people in need, a team of employees huddled at 1179 Kenmore Avenue to create a plan that would get medications and relief staff to where they needed to be. Two Program Coordinators picked up medications and staff to bring them to their, “storm headquarters” at 180 Oak Street. Site Managers Allison Schmandt and Christine Wagner demonstrated their leadership skills as they devised a plan for what needed to be done that day. They mapped out their route and began their journey. As they made it to each location, they updated others of their arrival.
The first stop was Leydecker, next was North Drive. Allison was back and forth from North Drive and Thorndale, delivering medications, picking up staff, and relieving those in need of a break. At 2:00 AM, Allison updated the others that their mission was a success!
Staff members like this make Community Services a place we can all be proud to work for. We thank you all for your patience, and commitment to “Living the Mission”.
Abbott Day Habilitation program was honored to be invited to Eastco/ California Recording Studio located in Orchard Park, NY.
George Miller, DSP- Relief at Community Services, orchestrated the visit. Our individuals relished at this once in a lifetime opportunity. Heather, Eastco Marketing Specialist and Josh, Production Engineer, lead the group on a tour of the recording studio, sound booth, and production areas. The excitement on their faces is evident in the photograph taken.
We hope to explore future endeavors with Eastco/ California Studio and continue to think “outside the box” to ensure continued enrichment in the lives of the people we serve.
The recent “Open Mic”, on April 18th, also showcased our groups talent and this visit acted as a catalyst for our group to practice and perform to their full potential.