Monday, July 25, 2016


Recently I did a ‘walk through’, that is: I visited a home for people with disabilities to make sure that the residents were being treated well in their residence. I have done many of these for the Board of Directors that I am a part of. My daughter lives in a home with a similar concept, except that she is non-verbal and so there are accommodations made for her. As board members, we are aware that the ultimate responsibility is on our shoulders that those we advocate for are given the best possible.

In this one home, I visited I interviewed a gentleman who I immediately took a liking to. He is a middle-aged gentleman with a shy and self-conscious disposition. When he speaks to you, he looks down and when he speaks, he thinks about what he says before speaking, so he is teaching me something important.

I interviewed him about life in his home and his daily program, and he expressed himself in short sentences, followed by my name. I’ll call him Oscar.

“Oscar, what are some of the things you like to do?”
“I like trains, Joe.”
“What is your favorite train?”
“The Long Island Railroad, Joe!”
“Ever been on a train?”
“No Joe, I don’t have much money.”

Well, my next project is to find a way to get Oscar on a train ride, maybe experience a bunch of trains in one place. I’m also looking into finding a museum that allows one to board a car or two, and maybe a model railroad tour somehow.

I know I have an old set of trains, maybe if I get some of it to work again, I will give it to him, and perhaps find a book on trains. Of course, I need to clear it with the agency to know what his limitations are with me from a legal and physical sense.

When my friend died in the rehab home, I realized that people are alone in this world, no matter who surrounds them, and to be part of a group of people and not have involvement can be a very sad thing, so I found Oscar, and he and I will walk a path of his choice.


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