Over the past 37 years, Luis had numerous opportunities to serve within different departments of Lifespire. His own familial experience of having a younger brother who was diagnosed with a developmental disability helped to prepare him for his calling in his life, which he attributes to his personal relationship to God. Luis wasn’t looking for a specific job working with individuals with developmental disabilities, he was just looking for a job back then when he came across an ad for a direct care counselor. And so he applied and was interviewed by Tom Lydon, who was a Residence Manager back then for the Herman Kaye Residence, located in Elmhurst, Queens.
As a direct care counselor at the Herman Kaye Residence in 1985, he further understood and appreciated the joy of fulfilling our individual needs through their eyes. He had the privilege of working alongside Tom Lydon, who hired him. Luis fondly tells Tom that “hiring him was one of the best decisions he made.” Soon after, Tom promoted Luis to be an Assistant Residence Manager. In 1986, he served as the Residence Manager at the Marilyn Greene Residence and in the late ‘80s as a Residential Program Coordinator, and finally, in 2007, Luis was promoted to his current position as the Director of Facilities Management.
He took a great deal of pleasure identifying and working with staff on his visits to various sites and having fun as one of the training instructors for CPR/First Aid, SCIP – R, Driver Safety. It provided for him an opportunity to teach a specific skill, but more importantly, to impart the care required of every employee in fulfilling Lifespire's mission to care for individuals as if they were their own family members.
One thing Luis will always remember about Lifespire is its family atmosphere. “It was not like a work atmosphere. It was a family, from staff and down to the individuals we served. We would cook, party, go on vacation and we go on recreation trips, wrestling games. You know this is a great job. You know, you go see baseball games; go for dinner. I love this. It was really fun being with the individuals. You know, you can joke around with them and have fun. They would share their difficulties and being that I have a brother who has a developmental disability, I had the compassion there already; it just naturally kicked in because I could see it from their eyes as opposed to just being work.”
“People feel comfortable being themselves around me, and I attribute that to my faith. You know, the fruits of the spirit of love, peace, joy, kindness, self-control and gentleness.
It gives me an attitude or personality that people start sharing their stories with me. And before you know it, we find some common ground. It has nothing to do with the culture, race, position or anything.”
“I definitely will miss Lifespire. Now, when I go to a site and I make a point when I see the managers and the staff, I say, OK, this is my Farewell Tour. It's been a pleasure, you know, working and serving alongside you.”
“Lifespire offers the opportunity to work with people who are in need. And if you have the heart to take care for the least of your brothers and sisters, it’s the right job.”
To his Lifespire family, Luis I says, “Until we meet again!”