LFSVA COO, Ray Ratke, shares his thoughts on Direct Service Professionals Week

This is national Direct Service Professionals week, and whenever I think about our dedicated, fantastic DSPs, I think of my mom.

My mother was one of the warmest, most caring individuals I have ever known. She would go to any length to make the lives of those she encountered a little better. If someone needed help, she would be there. She would step in to clean for an elderly neighbor or give someone who couldn’t drive a ride (often times daily). She nursed to health abandoned, medically fragile infants even when she had her own five children to care for. She would make homemade cookies or a meal for someone who was sick or for a family who experienced a death — many times for strangers. This list could go on.

People in the town I grew up in said that my mom made a difference in the lives of the people around her.

So, you can easily see why I think of her when I think of our DSPs. Our Direct Service Professionals do similar things as I described above, and more, on a daily basis. And they do them with patience, respect, warmth, dedication, and compassion.

To our DSPs: We know very well you could go work somewhere else, perhaps doing something that involves work that is perhaps not as challenging as what you do here. We are very grateful you choose to be at Lutheran Family Services of Virginia!

There is one more reason I think of my mom when I think of you. Mom lived the last five years of her life in a nursing home, and there was one thing that was crystal clear about that period. The people who most directly impacted her quality of life and her happiness, and who helped her maintain a positive spirit, were the people who washed her hair, helped her take a bath, and made sure she got out into the sunshine for part of the day. In other words, it was not her doctor, her nurse, the nursing home administrator, or her son — who lived 750 miles away, who made the most difference in her life. It was people like you.

We don’t say thank you nearly enough, and I hope you hear it a lot this week and in the weeks to come. Thank you!