“The founders of Welcome House and West Haven, the Steudel Family, had envisioned that persons with DD could live in group homes or family style homes that replicated as close as possible the kind of living that they were used to growing up.”

2015 OPRA Achievement Awards Maureen Corcoran Award: Robert Lash

I would like to nominate Robert Lash for the 2015 Maureen Corcoran Award of the Year for a DSPATHS graduate. Rob is truly an exceptional DSP. He is a recent CIP graduate, and in the words of his PATHS instructor, Tony Thomas, “was great to work with!” His quiet, steady presence provides comfort and security to both his fellow staff members and the clients he served.

It is hard to identify which standards of ethics and professionalism most describe Rob. Not only does he hold himself to the highest ethical standards, but he is proficient as the ethical areas of advocacy and person centered supports. He has also shown an adeptness in crisis intervention and is strong in providing community living skills and supports as the information below will describe.

When hired by Welcome House, Rob had no previous experience as a direct support professional, but walked into a very chaotic atmosphere and instantly made an impression on the men in the home. His presence alone makes the clients he serves happy; and his upbeat, yet quiet demeanor sets the tone for Hilliard House where he works. He has become a role model for his fellow DSPs.

In Rob’s DSPATH’s professional development essay he said, “Two years after starting, this remains the only job I’ve truly cared about. I’ve always worked hard, never called off and put all of myself into my jobs, but this one has made me care on a much more personal level.” Rob’s self-awareness contributes to his professionalism. He is able to maximize his strengths for the benefit of the clients he serves.

Recently one of his clients was in the hospital sick and on a ventilator. It was important to Rob to be with him, but he encountered a very disturbing site when he arrived. At that point, Rob insisted that he be the only staff to visit, primarily because he was trying to protect his coworkers, but also, of course, because he wanted to be the one present to care and advocate for his client with hospital staff.

Another new client came to Welcome House very wary of his new environment. Rob took this client on as a “special project,” working with his to find his specific interests, make him more comfortable and aid him with communication. This dedication is so remarkable — we are so lucky to have Rob on our staff.

Each and every day Rob affects positive change in the workplace. Every day he sets an example for those fortunate enough to work by his side. Every day he dedicates himself to the client he serves, treating them with dignity and respect. His recent CIP accreditation enhance his already strong leadership and service skills.

As the PATHS coordinator for Welcome House, it is rare that I see such a remarkable program participant. I highly recommend Rob Lash for the Maureen Corcoran Award.

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