Heralded as the man who is every supervisor’s, coworker’s and caregiver’s dream, direct support professional (DSP) Tom Fix at ProAct in Shakopee was selected for a state level DSP Award by the Minnesota Organization for Habilitation and Rehabilitation (MOHR).
Fully engaged and ‘all in’
“Tom goes all in. He sings, dances, plays games, assists with any care that’s needed and always gets to know the people he supports,” said MOHR DSP Award organizer Lynne Megan.
Winning in the “Enrichment Focus” category for the metro area, Fix has enjoyed a 36-year career in human services. His sister, who has since passed, had a disability and when she was moving out of the family home, Fix decided to check things out.
“I got ahold of the house parent and talked to them for a bit,” said Fix. “Low and behold, I started there part-time while still going to school and ended up working there full-time.” That job soon led to an opportunity with a day program and he still works at a group home every other weekend.
“It’s just a blessing, so cool when you can see, come to work and have people know your name and have them just thrilled to see you,” said Fix. “How many jobs have that?”
Tom wears many hats at ProAct, said Day Support Services Manager Ali Brown. “He has job coached, provided one to one staffing to individuals with high behavior needs, leads enrichment community activities, teaches “Sports with Tom” and even created a Smart TV karaoke class that is a huge hit.”
Key resource for staff
Fix is known as a leader and role model to his coworkers, and often trains new team members, and helps resolve issues, his manager said. Some of this involves communicating pertinent information to help others work successfully with participants. A reliable team player who can brainstorm ideas and come up with solutions, Brown said Fix gets to know people by asking questions and listening.
Safety is job one, thoughtfulness, dedication
Parent Tami Custer, whose son, John, attends ProAct, said Fix makes safety the number one priority and is very thoughtful and kind when working with participants.
Through mask mandates and COVID, Brown said Fix has remained positive. “His dedication to serving his community has shown shiny and bright through all the lives he has touched.”
As he received the award at the MOHR Spring Training Conference in Duluth, Fix said he was deeply honored to be doing this work and to help people.
In a 2019 video produced for ProAct, he said all staff work together for a common goals of making the best days possible for the people they serve.