41 Years of Service
Donna has been a prime example of integrity since she began with our organization in 1978. In that time, she has developed close relationships with all individuals we support. She knows JA so well she can provide support on many levels, even when JA has extreme challenges in attempting to communicate his needs. JA has a history of a chronic, serious GI condition. On one occasion, because of Donna’s in-depth knowledge of each person she supports, she noticed JA’s expression of pain paired with one subtle telltale symptom of a problem with this extremely serious GI condition. Without hesitation Donna reported the issue to the RN and Program Manager as she raced JA to the emergency room. Because Donna was so familiar with the way JA communicated and expressed himself, and because she was able to calmly pay attention to detail amidst the chaos of a busy morning, she was key in avoiding a serious health crisis for JA. This standard of attention, combined with Donna's dedication to understanding the expression and needs of each person she supports define the excellent professionalism displayed by the best in the field.
Donna has developed an important and fruitful relationship with persons served and their families over the last 40 years. She has grown an especially strong relationship with LD and her family. LD loves regularly spending time with her family – mom, dad and sister. However, ever since her brother moved to California it has been difficult for LD to be with him. LD also is incredibly fond of all things Disney. Donna had an incredible idea to combine these two wishes and with support of LD’s family, she planned a trip for LD to go to California for the very first time, to see her brother, and even to meet Micky Mouse in person during a dream visit to Disneyland. Donna’s dedication provided LD an essential part of living with dignity and opportunity – being part of her own family in a fun, inclusive setting. Donna was there providing unobstructive support to LD throughout the entire trip, allowing LD to enjoy an experience that was uniquely shaped to her personality and goals. Because of Donna’s creative and determined planning, LD accessed travel, cross-country family gatherings, and an adventure that fulfilled one of LD’s greatest dreams.
Last summer LD spent months in the hospital receiving very intense surgery and recovery treatments for cancer. It was a challenging and emotionally debilitating time in LD’s life and in the lives of all those who love and support her. As LD was recovering, Donna was a steadfast presence by her side. When LD’s family had to leave the hospital for other obligations, Donna was there with LD without hesitation. Even while being there for LD, Donna also miraculously covered all required duties for her shifts at the home. Because the experience with this medical crisis was so challenging and because it exacerbated anxiety around any medical treatment, LD became even more resistant and fearful of medical appointments. Over the years of being with each other at the home, Donna has patiently and compassionately developed a relationship of trust and comfort with LD. Donna has a deep understanding of LD’s personality and respect for LD’s needs and choices. With these needs and wishes in mind, Donna developed care practices for LD that now help her stay calm and brave when attending essential medical appointments. LD has just recently received confirmation that she is officially a cancer survivor.