Meet Don

Plans don’t always work out the way you originally think; sometimes the detour (so to speak) works out far better than the original plan. For Don, resident in Community Living’s Residential program, there were some detours, but the most important thing is now he’s happy as well as his family.

When David Parr, Don’s brother, was introduced to Leann Clement, Director of Residential Services, “Leann told me all about the process,” David said. “She’s responsible for helping me get in touch with a case manager, who then helped me apply for funding and was able to walk me through the steps to get Don into a supported home. None of this happens overnight.”

Originally, the plan was to have Don live with family forever, but things out of the family’s control happened, and the process of getting Don into a better living situation began. “I received a lot of information from the case manager and Leann, but it all takes time and I didn’t have the time,” David said. “I needed to get Don out of an unsafe situation, so I got him placed with another organization. It was always our intention to get him into Community Living; it was just a process to get there.”

In a year and a half, Don moved three times to various homes in the community with various organizations. Along the way, he found a church home at First Baptist Church of Harvester. “The church has really taken him in,” David said. “They have a special needs class he attends every week and they’ve given Don the responsibility of being the door greeter.”

When David received the call from Leann about an opening for Don, there was a sense of relief. “This has been a transition, which has been better for him and for us,” David said. “He’s finally at a place we can spend our time celebrating with him, as opposed to worrying about the day-to-day responsibilities with him. We are at the point where his quality of life is better than ever.”

On April 1, the family moved Don into one of Community Living’s supported living homes in the community. It was also Don’s birthday. “It was no April Fool’s joke,” Don said. Both Don and David are happy about the new living arrangements. “We’ve finally come to a place where everything has come together,” David said. “It’s been a long process and we’re learning as we go, and we’ve learned there are so many opportunities for Don. We’ve finally landed where we feel he is home.”

The phrase, “Things happen for a reason,” keeps coming to David’s mind when talking about his brother’s transition. One of Don’s concerns about moving was his church. “He was worried he would be too far to attend,” David said. “His new home is five minutes away from his church. Everything just keeps coming into place.”

David realizes this transition for his brother took a village. “I want it to be known that it took a lot of people who worked hard to get Don to where he is now,” David said. “It’s very gratifying.”

In just a few weeks, Don already likes everything about his new home. “I like my roommates … and the staff,” Don said.

Don, a sports enthusiast, has already gotten his roommates excited about Cardinals baseball. “Each individual brings something different to the house,” Lenora Dillon, Residential Lead Staff, said. “While Don will never replace who we lost, he brings his own personality to our home. He has his own interests, which is helping to get the other guys involved and it’s creating bonding moments.”

If there is one thing about Don to know, he brings out the best in people. “I don’t care who they are, people that normally will not do things, Don will get them to do it,” David said. “He’s good at that and that’s a blessing.”

Top photo: Don looks through his baseball card collection. He says he has about 73,000 cards. Below photo: Don, middle, with two of his brothers, Jerry, left, and David.