Our Stories

Antonio Gonzalez, Direct Support Professional

Going That Extra Mile

Antonio Gonzalez smiling

Antonio Gonzalez is relatively new to JM Murray but in that short time he has made a positive impact on our clients, our staff and the community-at-large. At the start of 2022, Antonio began working with Henry*, a client with a lengthy record of negative interactions with the local police department which led to him being placed on probation and required to stay out of trouble. Unfortunately, Henry has struggled with attention-seeking behaviors, poor coping skills, and altercations with neighbors that have resulted in police calls that were sometimes occurring daily. Henry’s entire community was observing the valuable resources being used for non-emergent situations, and decided it was time to come together and figure out how to prevent this.

Henry had a lengthy history of being inconsistent with services, and then he began working with Antonio. Almost immediately, his circle of support began to notice a decrease in the frequency of 911 calls. In a recent meeting with the noted that Henry was able to go three days in a week without calling 911. Henry became more consistent in receiving his healthcare and community services and to date, has stayed out of trouble. Unfortunately, by the time he began working with Antonio, his residence had been deemed a public nuisance, and he ended up homeless, eventually moving to a motel.  Antonio continued to provide services to Henry during this time, working with him, (sometimes for six hours at a stretch) to keep him occupied and out of his motel room.

Henry was then offered a housing opportunity in an Individualized Residential Alternative in Binghamton. Understandably, Henry was hesitant about moving out of Cortland and away from the relationships he had with family and his service providers. Antonio offered to continue working with him despite the longer commute. This allowed Henry to feel more confident in his choice to pursue this opportunity. Antonio accompanied Henry when he toured the home. Henry chose to accept the opportunity and move to Binghamton. Antonio continues to work with Henry twice a week. Henry looks forward to spending time with his “buddy,” and is thriving in his new living environment. Henry continues to work on his coping skills. Despite the distance, when he’s upset, instead of 911, Henry calls Antonio, who helps him de-escalate the situation by talking it through.

When asked what it is about being a DSP that he likes most, Antonio sums it up, “I like helping people.” And it’s that desire to help people that will inform Antonio as he embarks on his next opportunity: going to school to become a police officer.  “Working with Henry has impacted me in so many positive ways that I know will help me when working with individuals with disabilities and crisis situations as a police officer.”

*Client’s name has been changed to protect their privacy.

JM Murray is proud to recognize the work of our direct support professionals.  Everyday they nurture, develop and help sustain our clients’ sense of independence, autonomy and community connection. For many of our clients, DSPs are much more than staff: they are family. Want to make a difference in someone’s life? Learn more about becoming a DSP