As a direct support professional (DSP) out of REM Iowa’s Hiawatha office for the past five years, Brandon Mason has supported individuals in 17 of the 22 homes and, as a result, gotten to know most of the individuals supported and staff. He has built strong bonds with the intention of being in it for the long haul. Brandon’s career choices have always focused on helping others. He started his Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) training in high school, then went to school for firefighting. He was still in college when he became a DSP. Brandon doesn’t stop at the role of caregiver. He sees the bigger picture. Brandon will fix things—from wheelchairs to drains, to securing TVs for safety. He will stop in to visit with individuals he supports on the days he’s not working with them, even on his time off, because he knows it makes them happy. To help support the program, he has used his skills acquired in firefighting school to develop fire escape plans for several houses.
“Brandon has displayed an unequaled amount of care and compassion with each individual he’s worked with,” said Michael Rivera, a program coordinator at REM Iowa and one of Brandon’s nominators. “He constantly goes above and beyond and is the first person to drop everything he’s doing to help. There are countless examples of Brandon’s generosity and kindness.”