Monday, May 7, 2007

I went to Quincy (Massachusetts) to the offices of Work, Inc to interview two of the nominees for the Joe Rogers Award for independence. It was established by Joe's brothers, Len, Mark and David and their wives, Barbara, Sue and Terry. Both Frank Nasher and Patricia Bey – the two nominees for the award – were great people, but it's Patricia's story that speak to this medium. Born deaf, Particia uses sign language to speak. We had two translators, Ellen and Sharon (Patty's job supervisor), and from when the camera began to roll they were busy bringing Patricia's view of her world to us.

Independence means a great deal to Patricia. And she has brought her independent spirit to one of Boston's premier hotels, the Ritz Carlton. She works in the laundry and is a maid in the guest rooms. And she meets the high standards of a posh hotel. I aksed her about the expectations and her eyes raised up as she said that each room gets three peices of stationery, positioned just so. The towels must be placed in their particular spot, dust must be hunted from each corner, behind each and every edge.

She also spoke about her pride and excitement at buying a dress online for an upcoming company dance. She sees this as another example of her independence.

And she spoke with her love of going for a walk, and how this also shows her independence. She should be on a national panel for the benefits of exercise towards well-being.

We'll be creating a short video about Patricia and Frank as an introduction to the Work, Inc awards cermony on May 24. And this blog as well as the upcoming short video is about how we can access Patricia's world. It is such a simple and basic thing to hear another person's story, to be given the gift of witness, of presence, to just hang out with another compelling person. And this medium allows others to take part in that story and its telling (and those stories and their telling).

Patricia's story and its telling grabbed my attention. Frank's story is similarly compelling, it is a matter of leaning in and listening – a line I used to describe my early conversation with my Uncle Joe.

Keep tuned to for the posting of those clips.