Camden County Developmental Disability Resources (CCDDR), aka the Camden County Senate Bill 40 Board and our sister agencies throughout Missouri are political subdivisions authorized under Missouri's enabling legislation, which is commonly referred to as "Senate Bill 40." These agencies provide for the needs of citizens with developmental disabilities in areas of employment, residential, and many other daily living support services. CCDDR and many of our sister agencies, including those is St. Louis City, Greene, Audrain, Boone, Madison, Jasper, Pike, and many other counties, all participate in Missouri LAGERS.
Our support coordinators and direct support workers are committed professionals who do what they do for the love of serving and helping others in their community. Whether it is teaching someone how to interview for a job, teaching housekeeping skills, providing therapy services, or simply coordinating a multitude of daily living support services, our employees are dedicated to the cause of improving people's lives. I have personally been witness to many moments when our support coordinators and direct support workers put their own lives on the shelf in order to focus on the needs of the people in their community who need assistance. People with developmental disabilities frequently must overcome barriers in daily living, some of which are not so different than folks without disabilities. What is more, individuals with developmental disabilities are more likely to be victims of abuse, neglect, and exploitation. The support coordinators and direct support workers are aware of all of these hurdles people with developmental disabilities face; yet, they fight to make sure each and every one of them remain safe and are considered active and contributing members to their community. The moderate paychecks our employees receive are not what keeps these folks doing what they do; it's the passion and love for the job and their commitment to the people in communities where they live.
Above: Some of the support coordinators and direct support workers of CCDDR.
I understand this kind of commitment seems to be a common thread of LAGERS members. All LAGERS members are public servants. Most of these public servants are just as awesome as our support coordinators and direct support workers, and their income is as modest as they are. However, each and every one of them has the knowledge that when they retire, or if they were to become disabled or even die, they or their families are guaranteed income for life from LAGERS. For me, the security of knowing our agency participates in LAGERS is our way of honoring their commitment and our way of saying, "Thank you so much for doing what you do."
Ed Thomas was born in Monett, Missouri, and grew up in Ozark, Missouri. He became the Executive Director for the Camden County Senate Bill 40 Board, dba Camden County Developmental Disability Resources (CCDDR), in March of 2012 and became the President of the Arc of Missouri in October of 2014. He is currently the President of the Missouri Association of County Developmental Disabilities Services (MACDDS), and he also serves on the Missouri Association of People Supporting Employment First (APSE) Board of Directors. Ed also co-founded the Local Area Needs Initiative (LANI) and the Lake of the Ozarks Transportation Council (LOTC), and he currently serves on the Board of Directos for both organizations.