IN OUR WORDS: MENTOR Oregon Staff Shares a Mission
By Miriam Kintz
Direct Support Professional, MENTOR Oregon
The collective heart of our staff was heavy when an individual who we served at our MENTOR Oregon Alternative to Employment program in McMinnville passed away on August 1, 2014. This individual had been a part of our lives for many years, and our staff had come to know her as a friend.
She was an exceptional person who overcame many challenges in her life. Through it all, she had a gentle heart, an infectious laugh and lived with a joy that we all envied. She inspired me and taught me a lot about having patience, as I watched her never give up on whatever goal was in front of her.
She became sick very suddenly prior to her passing. It was an enormous shock. When we found out she would not be coming back to the program, myself and another staff member bought flowers for her and went to visit her at her group home. We were very fortunate to be able to hold her hand and say goodbye before she left us.
On the day of her passing, I wrote a poem that would be included at her funeral. Another staff member, Heidi Strathmann, painted a beautiful picture (shown below) of this wonderful individual we had the pleasure to serve. It meant a lot to our team that those who knew this beautiful woman best invited us to her funeral service and post-service gathering. Our team members bound together to say goodbye and remember a woman who, while small in stature, had the strength and heart of ten men.
People like this individual inspire us and give our team one more reason to push harder in providing care. We have a special group here in McMinnville. For years, we have worked together and gone above and beyond the call of duty to ensure quality service and care. I imagine it would be difficult to find another workplace where co-workers value each other so much and work together for the betterment of the individuals we support.
We take a lot of pride in our site, as this is a place where we offer care and support on a daily basis. We keep everything clean and looking very inviting. We work together once a month in our spare time to paint window murals for everyone to enjoy. It makes us feel good to know that the individuals we serve are well cared for and happy. The goals they set are always met, and we pride ourselves on helping individuals live life to the fullest. It is very rewarding, and we take a lot of pride in their accomplishments.
Our supervisor sometimes calls us perfectionists, as we all strive to meet deadlines ahead of time, maintain a site that is clean and well organized, and remain meticulous with documentation. This is all part of assuring that the services we deliver meet the highest standards of quality. In all honesty, we all feel like winners, because we go home every day knowing that we’ve given 100% and that we make a difference in the lives of others. Much the same, the individuals we support also make a difference in our lives.
At the funeral service for our friend who passed, I wrote the following on a picture reserved for messages: “You will always be missed and it won’t be the same without you. It was my great pleasure to work with you.”
It truly was.