Plattsburgh, NY — The Advocacy and Resource Center is having an appreciation week for those they call the unsung heroes of the healthcare industry.

The center provides service and support to those with intellectual and developmental disabilities and this week, it is paying tribute to direct support professionals.

Mark Brannigan, a direct support professional, or DSP, said they help clients get out into the community.

“We do all things from general care to fun and exciting things, getting them out to try new things that just make their lives better each day, make them more independent and more part of the community,” he said. 

Brannigan has been a DSP for 28 years. He said it’s nice to be appreciated, but for him, it’s about the people they work with.

“It draws attention to the people we work with,” he said. “That’s a lot of the reason we’re here is the people. Just like the crew that’s volunteering here today — that’s why we’re here. So it’s great that we get to celebrate and get to focus on the different things we get to do.” 

For Brannigan, it is personal — he has an aunt with Down syndrome. Last year, his work earned him DSP of the year for the State of New York. Robin Pierce, Executive Director of the ARC, said as a DSP, you’ll go home at night feeling like you made a difference in someone’s life, and there’s no greater feeling than doing that,” said Pierce.

The ARC is holding an employee appreciation banquet, along with raffles, and other activities throughout this week to celebrate their employees.

For more information about the ARC, click here.