In Announcements, State and City Information

September 14, 2011

Dear Friends and Colleagues:

This week is National Direct Support Professional Recognition Week. On Monday, we celebrated 27 direct support professionals from every region of our state. I would like to thank all of the incredible direct support professionals within OPWDD and our network of nonprofit providers for their hard work and commitment.

Direct support is the heart of our workforce. It is an extraordinarily challenging profession, which has incredible rewards for those committed to this service.

As I travel the state, I am impressed by the dedication of these men and women, who every day put the interests of others above their own. Nowhere was this selflessness more apparent than in recent weeks, with the evacuation of nearly 1,300 individuals due to Hurricane Irene and subsequent continuous rainfall, which resulted in significant flooding and widespread power loss across the state.

I know many nonprofits are holding recognition events of their own, and I would like to take this opportunity to share with all stakeholders the OPWDD honorees for 2011:

·         Bernard Fineson (Queens): Michelle Pierre and Jacqulene Torrington
·         Brooklyn: Kersendria Cosby and Paulette Manhertz
·         Broome: Piper Ashton, Virginia Colon, and Phyllis Smith
·         Capital District: Mary Hall and Robin Peacock
·         Central: Paula Haley and Larry Schad
·         Finger Lakes: Angie Smith
·         Hudson Valley: Rebecca Konikowski and Robert Sellers
·         Long Island: Jean Bien-Aimee, Alexa Brown, and Daryl Williams
·         Metro NY (Manhattan and Bronx): Jacqueline Crawford and Tracy Harris
·         Staten Island: Carole Leslie and Cheryl Walker
·         Sunmount (North Country): Melissa Fowler and Donna Nicklaw
·         Taconic: Juanita Beals, Milissa Mahoney, and Robert “Bob” Prusakowski
·         Western: Doris Engel

You can learn more about these professionals by visiting OPWDD’s first-ever online Direct Support Professional Hall of Fame.

This year’s recognition week comes amid vast reforms at OPWDD. This administration is committed to providing good employees with the supports and services they need to succeed, improving workforce morale and confidence throughout the operations of this system, opening the lines of communication, and developing a comprehensive values-based workforce recruitment plan based on dignity, equality, and respect for every person.

I thank all direct support professionals for their service, and congratulate this year’s honorees on their well-deserved recognition.


Commissioner Burke

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