Kevin with his son, Connor.

Our DSP this week is Kevin. He has been with Living Well for close to 14 years and does overnights at our East Emmerson home. Kevin has a gift of deep understanding not everyone has, and his tenderness and dedication is obvious. His son, Connor, has a disability, which makes him a natural advocate.  Working for Living Well is a place for him to help others, and that makes him happy.

Jenny Schwoch, Program Manager, says, “Kevin is very person centered. He cares about the people who live in the home, and the staff, too. He is very interested in their lives and understands the folks due to his son having a disability. He is willing to do whatever he can to help the team and is an all-around good guy.” She adds, “He has a special bond with someone at the home, and whenever he is around and she is awake, she is very calm. He has a calming presence, and it is lovely to see.” Jenny has worked with Kevin for 11 years and appreciates his strength and kindness.

Back when Connor was a baby.

Kevin works the overnight shift but started with day hours and has built great relationships with people at the home. He passes meds when necessary, helps get them ready for day program on Monday mornings, and has a primary focus of making sure everyone is refreshed and comfortable every two hours as they sleep. He does a lot of cleaning and makes sure everything is sanitized, makes lunches for the next day for day program, does laundry, sweeps, mops, brings deliveries in and says, “There really is always something to do, you can always find things that will help get the house ready for the next shift.”

One of Kevin’s photographs, he loves taking pictures.

Kevin’s son Connor moved into a Living Well home a few years ago, and he is delighted that he is in such a great environment. Kevin says, “Connor is happy and thriving. I like to believe that there are people in his corner looking out for him every day. Supporting him in different ways, keeping him emotionally safe and protected physically.” And he would know, as he does the same for other people’s loved ones.

Kevin, we appreciate you making a career out of caring after so many years of caring for your own son. Your dedication to the job and commitment to advocacy is incredible. Thank you for all you do. We appreciate you.

 

 

ABOUT KEVIN 

Number of years/months with Living Well: 13 years 11 months

Hobbies/Interests: I am kind of an amateur photographer. I like taking pictures of just about anything, especially nature. Lake Harriet Island, the St Paul skyline, that kind of stuff. I also like taking my son out for walks by the river and going out to eat at restaurants as well. My son Connor’s favorite is Green Mill, he loves pizza.

Education: I graduated from high school and had some vocational school training in TV production.

Job Experience/History: After that school I ventured into the high-tech industry and worked at a semiconductor company. BF Goodrich for aerospace and semiconductor related work at ATMI. Then I was paid as a PCA to care for my son, and eventually went to Living Well part time. I have been at the East Emmerson House since the start and do overnights.

Favorite part of the job: I like interacting with the people who live there. Being the father of a special needs son myself, I feel I can relate to their challenges. I like being there for them. I tell other staff that our number one job here is to keep these guys safe, clean and happy. Keeping hygiene up to a great level and making sure they are safe and comfortable is important.

Favorite work story: Helping people through challenges is always a highlight. To be of service when people need me, feels good.

What is your motivation for coming to work: I feel that in my past jobs I felt an important role in tech, but I really like the idea of working with people versus machines. I enjoy working with people. And I have a special needs son so I feel it is important and worthwhile to contribute or give back—to give back is my main motivation. I would do anything I can to help these people maintain a healthy and vibrant lifestyle, to be there for them is rewarding for me.

What makes you stay: It is six blocks from my house, so very convenient, but the people at the house make me want to stay. I have taken a liking to everyone there. The people that live there and the proximity keep me there. I enjoy working in my community.

What would you tell people interested in joining the team: I would tell people that they have to have a pretty good awareness level and be prepared for anything to happen at any given time. You just never know what is going to happen.

When not at work what do you like to do for fun: I like to grab dinner with Connor. My wife and I enjoy going to antique stores, and we are very into historical stuff. We enjoy walking. And we get together with family for a happy hour every week. Traveling to little towns like Lanesboro, Stillwater, Northfield, and places like that are fun to visit. Being semi-retired my wife and I have more time to be together and that is nice, so we focus on each other and that has been great for us.

 

 

 

 

Want to nominate a DSP? Please email jessica.maurer@livingwell.org to nominate a Living Well DSP. Special thanks to Miles and Cheri Cohen for their support of DSP of Week. Want to join them in underwriting our DSP Shoutout Program? Please contact Devan Heinsen for sponsorship opportunities.