SEAFORD – The Delaware Association of Rehabilitation Facilities has found out something that Pamela Luke’s friends and family have known all along – she’s a star.
Ms. Luke has been named Delaware’s 2012 Outstanding Direct Support Professional, in recognition of her extraordinary dedication to the individuals in her care. She works overnight in Delmarva Community Services, Inc.’s group home in Seaford as a community living assistant.
But she didn’t reach the top of her field by just putting in her hours. In her nomination letter, Program Coordinator for Delaware Andrea Tull wrote, “It was the birthday of one of the individuals in the home in which she worked. She ended her vacation early to take this individual out. She bought him balloons, took him out to eat, and took him shopping for a watch.
“When asked if she wanted some of his spending money to pay for his meal, she adamantly refuses, as it was her treat for his birthday. This individual loved all the attention given him and was happy for days, which is a huge accomplishment for this particular person. All of the staff and I were elated and amazed, believing that the day and the gift had meant a great deal to him. We could see that he somehow learned something from the experience.”
A direct support professional helps people with disabilities to live a lifestyle they choose. They provide assistance and support for activities of daily living, communication, transportation, recreation and home management. Ms. Luke said, “I take care of them. I treat them with the dignity and respect they deserve.”
Manager Connie Marth said, “We’re so proud. We have so many good employees who care about our people.” Supervisors nominated 20 DCS caregivers, who were not identified by name. A panel then chose six to forward to C.E.R.T.S., Inc., joining nominees from other organizations for the final selection.
In addition to Ms. Luke, DCS’ other nominees were Glenda Bowden, Delcine Brown, Katrina Harris, Marea Tolliver and Diana Goodlavage. There will be an awards luncheon Sept. 20, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Executive Banquet & Conference Center at 205 Executive Drive in Newark, Delaware. Governor Jack Markell has been invited to speak.
There will be a networking expo. Tickets are $15 per person. For more information, contact Sandra Merritt at 302-218-5337, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.delarf.org. But all the fuss is just icing on the cake for Ms. Luke, who does it all for the individuals in her care. She said, “My reward is seeing the smiles on their faces.”