Susie Reukema Retiring
As of June 1st this year, I will be retired from the REACH organization and no longer the Assistant Director & Relocation Specialist for the REACH of Plano center. Over 21 years ago when I applied for the position at REACH of Dallas, I had no idea of the challenges I would face in providing services to our consumers. Since that time, I’ve learned an incredible amount of information and saw changes that have benefitted people with disabilities. However, the barriers and challenges have not gone away and at times appear to have taken a turn for the worse.
I have to thank all the people who have helped me learn and told me which rock I need to look under in order to find answers. There are so many that I can’t even begin to name you all. Charlotte Stewart, REACH’s Executive Director, has shared much knowledge with me and has probably wondered at times what she was thinking when she offered me the position.
My passion became the relocation project – assisting nursing home residents on Medicaid attain their goal of living back in the community. My goodness, that has been an ongoing challenge! But when you meet someone who thought they could never see the light of day and are finally living an independent life again, it’s a huge motivator in continuing the struggle. There are people who have remained in the community successfully for many years and continue to do so. There are others who made it for only one day. There are some who died trying, but never managed to reach that goal. And there were always those who just wanted to dream again of the day.
Much appreciation and respect goes to Doni Green with the North Central Texas Council of Governments/Area Agency on Aging of North Central Texas who has been the Program Manager for the Home By Choice project over the past several years! When I ran into brick walls, she was the one to help me find resources and answers. She has been an inspiration and a wealth of information. Thank you!
Being able to be a part of the REACH of Plano office to provide services to the residents of Collin County was such a thrill! I never dreamed it would ever happen. But it did, and our staff has been so successful in providing services to this community. I’m so proud of all of you!
After all of this, I have to thank my coworkers, past and present, most of all. You have been my friends and my family. You have challenged me, fought with me and confided in me. I will miss you and the laughs we shared and the tears we shed.
Thank you all for the opportunity to be a part of your lives!