The term “essential worker” has become familiar to all of us since COVID-19 took hold of the world. The term is often used to refer to doctors, nurses, first responders, and direct support professionals as these roles are visible to the public. As we have learned though, there are many essential workers who quietly provide critical services and supports, helping to keep people safe and healthy.
LIFEPlan member and Plattsburgh resident Chad Clukey is a terrific example of one such essential worker.
For the past 3 years , Chad has worked for the Advocacy and Resource Center (ARC) in their transportation department detailing agency buses, cars and vans. Chad spends his day washing, vacuuming and disinfecting the vehicles, ensuring they are always clean and sanitized and ready for the next trip. “These cars represent the agency, if they don’t look good, the agency doesn’t look good,” Chad said.
These days, the skills Chad has developed are increasingly important for combating the COVID virus. This is a challenge he is ready to meet as this is more than just a job to him. “He is really proud of the work he is doing; it makes him feel good to know he is doing his part to keep people safe,” Chad’s LIFEPlan Care Manager, Danielle Reyell said.
Change has never been easy for Chad. He thrives on routine and consistency. Unfortunately, he has been faced with a lot of changes this year. A family member became ill, working with Danielle to create a Self-Direction budget so he can receive supports in his home, learning new cleaning procedures at work, and wearing a mask while at work top the list.
As anyone would expect, changes like these disrupt our lives and test coping skills. Challenges like these can be stressful for anyone, especially when your work routine dramatically changes. Chad not only adjusted to each of these changes, but he continues to do it all with a smile.
How? At work, Chad prides himself on taking his role very seriously, Chad shared, “Things really changed on how they wanted the vehicles to be cleaned. They have special cleaners for all the contact points (where people touch). Danielle and my Supported Employment job coach have helped me manage all these changes and excel at work”.
His dedication and work ethic did not go unnoticed by The ARC administration. They were so impressed with the efforts put forth by Chad and his team in keeping people safe that they personally met with them to say thank you. Chad was excited to not only be recognized for his efforts, but he also received a beautiful ARC hoodie and thank you card, which meant a lot to him.
Chad is currently working on obtaining his driver’s license so he can assist at work to drive the vehicles in and out of his workstation.
Chad approaches one day at a time, saying, “I take care of myself and do what I can to help others. I am proud of what I do.” Thank you, Chad, you are making a difference every day.