Mark Brodeur, a registered nurse at Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield and a member of the Massachusetts Nurses Association, was honored on Wednesday for his "vision, advocacy and support in promoting social inclusion."
Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services Commissioner Elin Howe presented Brodeur with an award during a ceremony at the State House in Boston on Wednesday, March 22. State lawmakers also recognized Brodeur for his role as a caregiver for Gerry, a disabled man who Brodeur met in 1999 when he was a citizen advocate.
Gerry lived in a group home at the time, was overly medicated, sleeping too much and had a number of medical problems, Brodeur said. "He was so over medicated, he became medically compromised, couldn’t swallow, ended up in the hospital in 2013 and came close to not making it out several times." Gerry later moved in with Brodeur. His health and ability to be involved in the community have improved tremendously since then.
"My title is care provider, but my role is of family, interpreter and public relations for Gerry, so that he can put his best foot forward and have the best chance of making a positive impact on the community," Brodeur said. "Most recently, We have attended The Women’s March, the Four Freedoms March and the Pittsfield rally in support of the ACA, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, [as well as the recent Berkshire Medical Center RN picket]. This would not be something that would be considered an option for him even 5 years ago."