Faye Miller Honored as South Dakota’s DSP of the Year
A special issue of The DSP Chronicles is devoted to Faye Miller, South Dakota’s Direct Support Professional of the Year. Miller was honored by ANCOR (the American Network of Community Options and Resources) for her dedication to the people she assists, who have an array of disabilities, including mild intellectual disabilities, autism, cerebral palsy, defiant disorders and traumatic brain injury. “Faye is the total package of a DSP — talented, very professional. Kind,” says Gigi Healy, the supervisor who recommended her for the award. “She’s never in a hurry or too busy to listen. She brainstorms things with the people she supports and always has creative thoughts. She loves them and they love her.”
Healy says Miller helped one of the people she works with get meaningful employment and helped another publish a book he had written. “My work is about the relationships, getting to know everyone I support as an individual,” Miller says. “Sometimes they are shy. I take them to lunch, I listen to them and their stories and their lives. It’s an investment of time, finding out where they want to shine. I network in town, and assist individuals in integrating into the community. It’s about having a one-on-one relationship with every person I support. Learning to know someone in depth is a gift.”
CNA Eileen Alig Receives National Award
“Family members of residents comment that Eileen is never rushed when working with residents,” says Dana Reese, administrator of the Good Samaritan Center in Manson, Iowa. “Her beaming smile and contagious laughter help her to communicate with residents regardless of their cognitive state.” Reese is talking about Eileen Alig, 81, the Good Samaritan Society’s 2009 Certified Nursing Assistant of the Year. According to an article in the August 10 Fort Dodge, Iowa, Messenger, Alig started working as a CNA 44 years ago. She still works three days a week and alternating weekends.
Alig was chosen for the national award from a pool of more than 7,000 CNAs who work for Good Samaritan at more than 230 locations. “She is definitely the moral compass of the Alig clan and her priorities are always in order,” said her granddaughter, Sara Martin. “She treats everyone with respect because she expects the same respect in return. Her faith carries her, and the rest of us every day and I can only hope to mimic her poise, service and character as I try to raise my own grounded family.”
Joseph Kearney Jr. (L) with his father
Chronicle of a Young Man’s Journey to Caregiving
An article in the August 11 Des Moines Register describes the “passion for nursing” 18-year-old Joseph Kearney Jr. discovered five years ago, when he began caring for his father after he was paralyzed in a car crash. “The crash put Joseph Jr. on a fast track to adulthood,” says the article.
Graduating early from high school, Kearney enrolled in a summer nursing assistant program. People who read about him in another newspaper article donated money toward the cost of the classes, giving him added confidence as well as needed funding to help with tuition. Kearney recently passed his final clinical exam to become a CNA and hopes to start work at a nursing home soon.