Monarch Spotlight - March 2014
As we observe March as Developmental Disabilities Month, we wanted to have a conversation with Pat McDonald, operations manager at Mallard Lane in Rockingham, who has worked with people living with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) at Monarch for 28 years.
Q: Why is raising awareness for issues surrounding developmental disabilities important?
A: In the 28 years that I have been here we have made leaps and bounds in raising awareness concerning developmental disabilities, but we have a long way to go. In my opinion, our job will not be done until everyone looks at people with disabilities and just sees "people," not disabilities. That is why community involvement is so critical. We must remember that we are all people with the same needs and desires, and we all have dreams.
Q: What does a typical workday look like?
A: I often say that in a residential setting you do what comes next. A typical day would involve spending time with the people we support and staff-- checking to see what their needs are, doctors’ appointments, volunteer activities and any issues that need to be addressed. Once those we support leave for the day program, I check to see if there are any household needs, whether it is supplies or maintenance. Often I speak with the guardians of those who live in the home. The rest of my day is spent doing my operational duties and handling anything that may come up with staff or the people we support.
Q: What is the most important aspect of your role and why?
A: To be a positive role model for the staff and support them, as well as ensure the needs of the people we support are met. In doing so we achieve the most important part of our jobs by helping those supported reach their highest potential and dreams.
Q: What has been your most rewarding or satisfying experience, or your proudest moment, while working here?
A: That is very hard to pinpoint; in 28 years I've had many. One that always comes to mind is the look on the faces’ of the people supported who were huge Elvis fans when we were able to take them to Graceland years ago. Another was when we were able to fly one of the ladies we supported to her home in New York to visit family she had not seen for years.
Q: What might someone be surprised to know about you?
A: I love to dance, golf, and watch Panther football, as well as attend games when possible. While I no longer play golf, I love to watch golf on television, and do so frequently. Also, most people do not know that I went to school to be an RN but chose this career and I have found it to be very rewarding and challenging.
Q: What do you do when you aren't working?
A: I enjoy reading and spending time with my family, especially my grandchildren.
Q: Favorite place to visit?
A: My favorite place to visit is Smithfield, N.C., which is my hometown.
Q: Movie or song that best describes you?
A: The movie that would best describe me would be “Steel Magnolias,” and the song that would describe me would be "I Hope You Dance;” according to my friends. Another thing my friends tell me I say a lot, and is my life motto is the quote: “Life is short. Laugh until your sides hurt, dance like no one is watching, work like you don't need the money and love like it's never gonna hurt."