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Connections - 12.22.21

CEO Perspective: Oh Look At All You’ve Done

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by Barbara Merrill, CEO, ANCOR

Barbara Merrill, CEO, ANCOR

So this is Christmas
And what have you done
Another year over
And a new one just begun

And so this is Christmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear ones
The old and the young

A very Merry Christmas
And a Happy New Year
Let’s hope it’s a good one
Without any fear

I’m an unabashed sentimentalist, and I love the winter holidays – and this Christmas song perhaps the most. I was just in New York City, where I went ice skating in Central Park at a rink close to where I imagine I can see the Dakota, where John Lennon lived, and died. This song gives me the shivers, despite the hundreds of times I hear it played on the radio.

The lyric isn’t what have you thought or what have you intended to do. Instead, he asks: What have you done?

And as directed by the Apostle John more than 2,000 years ago, “My children, our love should not be just words and talk; it MUST be true love, which shows itself in action.” (John 3:16-18)

This is a universal doctrine, present in virtually all of the world’s major religions and secular teachings.

And what have you, members of our community, done?

You’ve risen, repeatedly, to the challenges of this pandemic.

You’ve supported people with respect, ensuring their safety, in the midst the worst workforce crisis we’ve ever experienced.

The staff at your national association is in awe of what you have done, and continue to do every day.

We are in awe of your direct support professionals, your nurses, your therapists, your teachers, your drivers and maintenance professionals. Also of your management staff who are working feverishly to ensure services are staffed, in many cases pulling direct support shifts themselves.

We are in awe of Arnold Dube, ANCOR’s 2021 Indiana DSP of the Year, who, like DSPs everywhere, was a hero in supporting individuals with the virus. But also who, despite being a model for staff in COVID-19 protocols, contracted the virus and passed away in May 2020.

We are in awe of the DSP in Kentucky last week who went into the maelstrom of the tornado to bring others to safety – and we fully expect to hear of many more such heroic acts.

We are in awe of the direct support professionals who each and every day, rarely with extraordinary circumstance, creatively and passionately support people to live their best lives.

There are so many stories of love; of people taking action every day.

As we go into what certainly looks to be another highly challenging year, we’ll rise together – through action.

And for our part, we’re honored that during yet another very challenging year, for the opportunity of serving you. Our 2022 commitment to you, as reflected in our mission, can only be achieved through action: to advance the ability of our members in supporting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to fully participate in their communities.

Peace.