116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Brandon Mason says he has learned many new things via his work with those with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
'We have a consumer who uses an iPad and he can go on Google Maps and show you exactly with Google Maps the way to get to the hospital,” said Mason, 25. 'Some of the stuff they do you never would have imagined they could have done.”
Mason, of Tripoli, has been a direct support professional with REM Iowa, based in Hiawatha, for six years. He was honored Oct. 28 in Boston at the Mentor Network's 11th annual Ripple of Hope awards for his patience, dedication and commitment to serving adults and children with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Some of Mason's clients, called 'consumers,” are non-verbal or have more severe disabilities. He typically works overnight. He said when he meets with his consumers, he focuses on building skills, such as cooking or doing laundry. The goal is to help consumers become more self-reliant, he said.
Mason's dedication to consumers continues when he is off the clock as well.
'I have consumers who call me and I go over to their house when I'm not working and hang out with them, take them out to eat,” Mason said.
Lisa Pakkebier, executive director of REM Iowa, called Mason a 'kind, caring and passionate person.”
He was nominated for the national Mentor Network award by Michael Rivera, program coordinator at REM Iowa and Mason's direct supervisor. Rivera has known Mason for almost six years.
'He does an awesome job with clients all through REM Iowa,” Rivera said. 'He's always been the type of person to just drop everything he's doing and help whenever he's available. We started at the same time and we've made a lot of progress with the boys that we've worked with.”
Mason said the most rewarding part of what he does is seeing those he work with get excited about their time together.
'If I'm gone for two days, it's crazy how excited they are to see you when you come back,” he said. 'I get off at 9 in the morning, I come back at 7 the next night, they're excited as can be. The big thing is seeing growth.”