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Bridget McClain is Buffalo, through and through. She grew up in South Buffalo, and has lived on the same street since she was 4 years old. Bridget’s connection to her neighborhood is strong. “I’ve remained close to my friends from Saint Agatha (grammar school),” she says. “They’re like my family.” After graduating from Turner Carroll High School and Medaille College, Bridget went to work at Benedict House in 1995, beginning a career of caring and compassion that continues today. In 2002, Bridget started at Evergreen as an Assistant Case Manager. “Maria LoTempio was the intern then,” recalls Bridget. “She dealt with my thousands of questions, and still does today.” Bridget was quickly promoted to Case Manager, and then, in 2007, to Director of Care Coordination. Bridget’s days are full. There are meetings with staff, triaging client care, case conferences, reviewing notes, and maintaining a level of service which meets Evergreen and Health Home standards. “I drink loads of coffee,” she laughs. Like everyone at Evergreen who provides direct services to clients, Bridget works hard. It’s challenging work, but rewarding as well. “My proudest moment was attending an award ceremony last year as a long-time client was named Tenant of the Year,” says Bridget. “It was a proud moment for the client, as well as staff in Housing and Care Coordination who have worked with this client for years. It was truly a highlight to see him shine, and to be able to share in that.” Bridget’s “team player” attitude is apparent in everything she does, and she goes out of her way to respect and value her coworkers. “I’m proud of our Care Coordinators, who are the soldiers, every day,” she says. “They advocate, protect, educate, and show true compassion to our clients. No words can describe how much that means… no words.” Bridget, we couldn’t have said it better ourselves! Connections [ RE AD MORE AB OUT BRIDGE T Mc CLAIN ON THE NEXT PAGE ]


BRIDGET

said “no words” but co-workers

exact time of day that she tells you. It is expected

past and present had plenty

that you will return with a full report of how the

of words to describe her, and they were glad

staff looked at you, what they said to you, what

to share some of them with Connections. “We

the other customers purchased, how long the

regularly refer to her as Dr. McClain, because she

line was, and how long you had to wait.” — Maria

is a wealth of knowledge. Bridget is the heart and

LoTempio. “Bridget is not my direct supervisor,

soul of our Center. She would do anything for

but she is someone I admire. Bridget possesses

anyone. Her laugh is contagious, and you can’t

every trait documented on the web of what a good

help but crack up when you hear her laughing!” —

supervisor should be! Honesty, friendliness, and

Theresa Shankland. “When I first started working

the ability to inspire are three traits that Bridget

for ACS many years ago, I was lucky enough to be

displays daily. Not only does she shine bright in

paired up with Bridget as her assistant. I learned

the office, she is the star of her home. She’s a

early on that she liked to play jokes on people.

loving mother and wife who is truly devoted to

She told our supervisor (Jenny Carter) that I

her family. I’m honored to write these kind words

showed up for work drunk. Jenny’s response was

about Bridget. — Bianca Morris. “Bridget’s famous

‘How much did he drink? Was it a lot?’” — Richard

line is ‘Smiley, you’re driving me crazy!’” — Richard

Bonvissuto. “When Bridget instructs you to order

Smiley. “When my father was dying of cancer, and

bread for the St. Joseph’s Day table, you order

I came home to Buffalo to see him, Bridget was

exactly what she tells you. You go to the exact

the first person I called for guidance and help.

bakery that she tells you. You pick it up at the

Before I knew it, she had a list of facilities and


phone numbers for me to call. I never forgot that.”

a better person for knowing her. Bridget, I think

— Richard Bonvissuto. “I have a sneaky ability

of you often!” — Richard Bonvissuto. “Bridget is

to read Bridget’s mind. I think it’s a testament

the most compassionate person I have ever met.

to the fact that we’ve been friends for over 14

She goes all out for her staff and clients. I adore

years. At least once a week, I hear ‘Get out of my

her. She also is the best prankster I have ever

frickin head, Maria, ya freak!’” — Maria LoTempio.

met.” — Cheryl Brunetti. “Bridget is the light in

“When I met Bridget, her very first words to me

any dark place, and she has a heart of gold and

were, “you have really nice eyebrows.” I thought

laughter. Bridget doesn’t just profess her values.

to myself, I like this lady. She’s quirky, down-to-

She is always practicing her values, and this is

earth, honest, and always finds something nice to

what makes her such a wonderful person to be

say about everyone. Any time I have a problem, I

around, and a great role model. I am so blessed

know Bridget is someone that I can go to for help.

to call Bridget my friend. She has taught me the

She has supported me in so many ways. She is

true meaning of how to respond with love and

always a beacon of light, even during some of the

kindness in any situation.” — Shannon Bryant.

darkest times. She’s never willing to compromise

“Bridget, you’re the most heartwarming person

who she is as a person, which is inspiring. I’m

I’ve ever known. When I smile you smile, when I

very grateful to call her a colleague and a friend.”

cried you cried. You stuck by my side throughout

— Katie Diebold. “Even though we no longer see

the untimely death of my child. I thank you and

each other every day, Bridget’s kindness and

appreciate everything you do for me and many

compassion are things I carry with me always. I’m

others.” — Cornelia Meredith.

Connections


Gratitude

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My son is a freshman at the University of Akron. I haven’t seen

him since August, and I probably miss him more than he misses me. I’m grateful for Thanksgiving because it’s one of the holidays when everybody stops what they’re doing and makes time to sit down and have a meal with loved ones. Family is important, and I realize everyone has busy lives, but I love the fact that on that day I’ll get a chance to see everyone. And, of course, this year I’ll also see my son and make all his favorites. — LaTanya Walton-Brown

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No matter what ups and downs life brings, my family and friends who

have been by my side when I need them the most. And my awesome co-workers! — Nicole Coonly

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This question made me pause and reflect on the past year. Through all the ups

and downs I can say that my family is healthy, I have a husband whom I adore, respect and admire. My girls are thriving and happy (as much as teenage girls can be) and I still love getting up every day and coming to this job. It’s not just the job that I love but also the great people I work with and for. I truly have so much to be thankful for. — Nichole Frank z

I thank God for waking me up every day, and that I can see my family and love them

unconditionally. That is a beautiful thing and I’m thankful for it . — Glendalisse Vargas Water, heat, and electricity. Not everyone has these basic things. — Andon Ticco my health and the health of my loved ones. — Maria Cruz family. — Ashley Kuss

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For

I am so very thankful for my

I’m grateful for so many things this Thanksgiving. First of all, my

family. They push me to do better everyday. This year I bought my first home, and I love Continued on Next Page


it. I am so thankful for that! Also, after 10 years waiting I am finally engaged! Last but not least my job. — Johanna Aponte wonderful family. — Kate Gallivan

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This Thanksgiving I am grateful for my

I’m able to help people through my job here at

Evergreen, and I’m always thankful for the love my four babies (dogs) show me.— Aaron Patterson

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This Thanksgiving, I’m grateful to be living in my own place, and

having a full-time job for the first time in years. For having the freedom to enjoy the little things that make me happy.— Deion Simmons

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I’m grateful that both my

beautiful grandmothers are still celebrating and sharing their lives with us.— Lindsay Zasada

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I am grateful for so much but most importantly I’m thankful for my family!

I don’t know how I would get through life without their support, love, truthfulness, and silliness. — Keisha Leavy

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I am grateful that my mom and brother will be

able to come to Buffalo to celebrate Thanksgiving with me! — Melissa Meyhew z

This Thanksgiving I’m thankful for my health, my girlfriend, my family, and my

friends.— Sal Sciandra

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I am grateful that I work here at Evergreen and around

the wonderful people that I do. Their love and support is much appreciated by me each and every day! — Trish Hopkins

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I’m grateful for good health, an amazing

husband, and my huge loving family. And gin. — Rob Baird

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I am most grateful for

recovery. A year ago I never thought I could work again. Now I feel alive and part of the real world again. Evergreen provided the path that I sought for years. Now I have to get back to work. — Michael Guilford

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Life, family, health, sanity. — Cord Stone


Chewing with your mouth open or speaking with food in your mouth! — Grant Rogers

z

A pet peeve of mine is when autocorrect thinks

it knows what you’re trying to type, so it keeps changing it on you! — Gianna Batt

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Water on the edge of the sink after someone washes

their hands, so then my shirt gets wet if I lean over the sink. — Nicole Coonly

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People who drive slow in the passing lane and will not

move over!! (where’s my angry face emoji?) — Nichole Frank pet peeve is ignorance. — Liz Miller Ticco

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My

“It is what it is.” — Andon

When my kids ask me the same thing over and over. They

think they can get away with it if they keep asking. — Glendalisse Vargas

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Loud chewing. — Maria Cruz

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When I say “thank you”

and they don’t respond with “you’re welcome” (especially when I order at the drive-thru). — Johanna Aponte their turn signal. — Kate Gallivan

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Drivers who don’t use

During the first real storm of the

winter season when everyone drives as if they’ve never seen snow before. — John Carocci

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People who use “literally” as an intensifier.

People who are disruptive during movies. — Sal Sciandra who chew with their mouth open. — Melissa Meyhew

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People My pet

peeves are crumbs in my bed and static cling! — Lindsay Zasada

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My pet peeve is when someone chews with their mouth open and makes loud, smacking noises. Ugh! — Deion Simmons

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People

who are on their cell phones during conversations and during meals. — Aaron Patterson

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People who refuse to accept that a person

can recover from addiction. — Michael Guilford

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One of my pet

peeves (as I do have many) is when people tell me that my pronouns are incorrect. The pronouns that best describe my gender identity are “they/them/theirs” (I identify as gender non-conforming), so when people say this, it really gets under my skin. — Shawn Moultrie z

Drivers that don’t use blinkers, or turn them on right before

they turn. — Cheryl Brunetti

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People who insult my intelligence.

Leaving empty food containers (like there is food in it)! — Cord Stone z

I have two pet peeves. People who take forever to make a right

hand turn. and people who don’t know how to do something, ask me how to do it, and then tell me I’m wrong. — Jerome Robinson


The Rocky Mountains are between 55 and 80 million years old. Their highest peak is Mount Elbert in Colorado, which is 14,440 feet high. The Rockies are divided into four major groups, which are further divided into over 100 ranges. Pikes Peak is the 2nd most visited mountain peak in the world. The United States acquired the land that became Rocky Mountain National Park in the Louisiana Purchase of

1803. There are about 355 miles of hiking trails in the park, which averages about 3 million visitors annually. One third of the 265,769 acres within Rocky Mountain National Park is tundra — above the altitude where trees can grow. The Rocky Mountains stretch more than 3,000 miles from British Columbia to New Mexico. The lowest recorded temperature in the Rockies was -39F in 1951. Connections


Maria Lotempio....................... 14 Years Johanna Aponte....................... 12 Years Helene Cacciato....................... 12 Years Rosalind Townsend.................. 11 Years Laura Pasquarella.................... 9 Years Nicole Coonly.......................... 6 Years Angela Torrie........................... 5 Years Michele Ogden........................ 4 Years Brian Kempf............................ 3 Years Odalis Norales......................... 3 Years Debora Johnson....................... 2 Years Cathleen Niedermayer............. 1 Year Rosemary Roche...................... 1 Year Ventenese Hollins.................... 1 Year Lisandra Rivera....................... 1 Year Andrew Dirienzo..................... 1 Year David Setlock.......................... 1 Year Glendalisse Vargas................... 1 Year Your Continued Dedication and Hard Work Are Noticed and Much Appreciated - Management Team


Birthdays Jacob Perrello............................. December 1 Jessica Raiber............................. December 1 Brian Orlikowski......................... December 1 Adam Costanza........................... December 1 Kristin Rickert............................ December 3 Anna Ihle................................... December 3 Angela Carr................................ December 3 Julie Mayer................................. December 5 Steven Rein................................ December 5 Shirley Bruno............................. December 6 Terresa Aughtry.......................... December 7 Theo Herman............................. December 8 Tyrell King................................. December 10 Tamika Cruz............................... December 12 Carly Casali................................ December 14 Thomas O’Kell............................ December 15 Matthew Crehan Higgins............. December 15 Brittani McKay........................... December 16 Shaquita Wilson......................... December 16 Andrew Kiener........................... December 16 Melissa Delgado.......................... December 17 Jennifer Graham......................... December 21 Jillian Fanning............................ December 22 Sergio Ponce............................... December 22 Toni Hernandez.......................... December 23 Christina Turner......................... December 24 Laura Pasquarella....................... December 25 Steven Sanders........................... December 26 Alex Gaylord............................... December 26 Justin Azzarella........................... December 27 Xavier Washington...................... December 28 Alex Marranca............................ December 30


fin.


December 2016 connections