Honoring those who care

It was an opportunity to say thank you to those who provide support services to individuals with developmental disabilities living in group homes and who found themselves on duty for, in some cases, days after Superstorm Sandy hit, doing what they had to do to keep their charges safe.

To acknowledge their efforts, the Brooklyn Development Disabilities Council ( BDDC) held an event, titled Heroes Among Us, in the historic Brooklyn Borough Hall Courtroom on January 25, to recognize the direct support professionals and others who went the extra mile during and after Sandy.

Paul Cassone, chairperson of the BDDC and CEO of the Guild for Exceptional Children, spoke about the importance of honoring these quiet stalwarts. “People who work in this particular field gave a lot of themselves,” he noted. “Many of the staff workers that helped out go above and beyond. They worked Monday through Thursday helping out. They are unsung heroes who gave personal sacrifice.”

Everyone’s story was different, but they all had one thing in common – they put their charges first.

“There was a staff worker who knew that during Hurricane Sandy the roads were declared off limits, but still found a back way to help get people off the Rockaways to safety,” Cassone said. “Another staff worker knew his family was in danger in the Rockaways, but still stayed and helped other people to safety.

“These are unsung heroes whose stories deserve to be told to the public,” he went on. “They put themselves at personal risk to help others. We hear about people who do the wrong thing and not so much about people who do the right thing.”

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