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April 18, 2020 | abqjournal.com

THE COMMITMENT of the first responders and medical staff in Albuquerque who care for those most in need of treatment is beyond reproach. We all remain in utmost admiration of their skill set and bravery. Celebrities and philanthropists exemplify extraordinary kindness with generosity and noted pledges to recognize their strength and courage.

I ask that we also recognize those making a little more than minimum wage providing direct care to New Mexicans with disabilities. These unsung direct-care professionals drive to group homes daily to care for those who have disabilities, covering shifts. These professionals are dedicated to helping those who have little family or no one else to help them. They care tor persons with autism, developmental, intellectual and other disabilities funded through nonprofits.

As nonprofits we have no stock to buy back Our front-line staff commute to homes from Wildflower and Yale Village and Mountain View to El Dorado.

What happens when those staff become exposed to a person within the home for who1n they are providing care? They shelter in place within their own home. Who wants to replace them in that current role? All of us are moved by their dedication and bravery. When we opened Community Options almost 30 years ago in New Mexico, we did it to help people with disabilities. Now the very fabric of their already fragile lives have become tenuous because the staff are so far-stretched.

All of the art patrons help with galleries and museums to keep our culture alive. Now we need your help to keep our services alive. We ask for help from anyone who respects our way of life giving freedom and joy to persons with disabilities.

For the next 10 weeks, every extra gift will used to increase the averaged $15 an hour direct care staff employee on the front line. It is combat pay in the war to keep the virus at bay. We could always use the help.

ROBERT STACK
President and CEO, Community Options

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