Two longtime employees of The Resource Center have been honored with the agency’s most prestigious awards.
Marcos Figueroa was named the Joseph Trusso Jr. Employee of the Year for 2016, while Alberta Monagle received the 2016 Norma J. Smith Award for excellence in providing support to people with disabilities. The awards were presented at TRC’s annual Employee Service Recognition Luncheon.
Marcos, the Assistant Manager at TRC’s home on Fairmount Avenue in Jamestown, has worked at The Resource Center for 16 years. He was chosen as the employee of the year for the quality of care he provides to people with disabilities and for the way he supports younger staff at the home.
“Marcos exemplifies the kind of person that The Resource Center is looking for in an employee through his kindness, compassion and giving of self,” Mark Morton, Assistant Executive Director for Employee Relations, told the audience. He noted that when a person with challenging behaviors expressed interest in going on vacation, Marcos volunteered to accompany him so that the person’s vacation dream could be realized.
Marcos also was the driving force behind the creation of the Mark Pacheco WOW (Working on Wonders) Fund, which raises money so that people with disabilities can enjoy experiences they otherwise could not afford. The past two years, Marcos has organized a lip sync contest to raise money for the WOW Fund.
Marcos was nominated by several people, and Mark shared some of the comments made by Marcos’ co-workers.
“I have only worked with Marcos for four months, and he has shown me a lot about caring, work ethic and enthusiasm,” one person said. “Being my first time in this career field, I wasn’t sure how to handle certain situations. Marcos was always eager to help me learn and quickly jump in and assist when needed. He treats staff with such encouragement and enthusiasm that it’s unbelievable. He reinforces the TRC mission through ensuring each individual has the right resources to complete the tasks they need to do.”
Another co-worker commented, “I have had the pleasure of working with Marcos for close to a year now. Marcos took me under his wing and made me feel so welcome. He has always been accommodating and very patient with any question that I have had.”
In nominating Marcos for the award his supervisor, Rhonda Scott, stated, “Having Marcos as my assistant for the past three years has not only been a blessing, it has been an honor to work on a team with such an extraordinary individual.”
“What I do for our individuals makes me a stronger person,” Marcos said. “I love what I do, and I love to see the individuals succeed.”
The Employee of the Year Award is named in honor of Joe Trusso, who served 38 years on The Resource Center’s Board of Directors and continues to serve on a board advisory committee.
The Resource Center’s other major award went to Alberta, a Community Living Skills Instructor in TRC’s home on Chandler Street in Jamestown. She has worked at TRC for 14 years.
“Alberta is not new to being recognized for the great job she does in supporting the people we serve,” Mark said. “She has received a number of staff appreciation recognitions during her years at TRC. One recent example was a recognition given for her quick response in performing the Heimlich maneuver on a resident who was choking and another for the work she did in helping to find staff coverage for multiple positions.”
In addition, last summer Alberta was one of the employees honored at TRC’s annual Every Heroes celebration held in connection with National Direct Support Professional Recognition Week.
The co-worker who nominated Alberta for the award noted, “She wants to give everyone a chance to show their independence as much as possible.”
Mark said that the manager of the home where Alberta works stated, “Alberta takes great pride in her work with the individuals, and it shows daily. She engages them in recreation activities and promotes independence. She will encourage the individuals to express themselves and build on their strengths. Many of our individuals will seek out to work with Alberta, and they really enjoy her being there working with them daily.” The manager also noted that Alberta has served as the home’s temporary assistant manager.
“I love my job. I love to help, and I love the smiles I see from the people I work with,” Alberta said.
The award was created in memory of the late Norma Smith, who worked for The Resource Center from 1983 to 1991. Ms. Smith’s daughters Sherri Eccles and Melissa Rasmussen, who also work for The Resource Center, were on hand to present the award to Alberta.