It was 1981 when Doddie McShane embarked on her career at the Trudeau Center. A gallon of milk cost $1.83, Ronald Reagan was President, and the Disability Amendments Act of 1980 had just become law. Doddie started as a Direct Support Professional and has grown to become an irreplaceable part of the Trudeau family.
Doddie remembers her first days at Trudeau at a group home called the Greenwich House. She fondly recalls the 12 people who lived in the home and the staff with whom she worked. “Reflecting back to the early days, it was the sense of social justice that was important to us, as it still is today,” said Doddie.
“I’ve had the pleasure to know so many amazing people in this field. I treasure the wonderful friendships that I have made and that feeling of family that we still have to this day when we see each other.”
To celebrate Doddie and her dedication to Trudeau, Doddie and 17 Trudeau employees took time to reflect on the last 40 years—how it all started, the legacy, and Doddie’s future. After enjoying an anniversary lunch with her colleagues in the group home where she works, Doddie logged onto Microsoft Teams to a surprise party, virtually. She showed off gifts that Titus group home residents had given her and spoke about her time at Trudeau.
Throughout the celebration many employees sang Doddie’s personal and professional praises. President and CEO Judith Sullivan remarked, “Doddie has a terrific, can-do attitude. She always sees the potential in everyone, particularly in those we support. Thank you, Doddie, for all you have taught me.” Patricia Spillane, a residential service coordinator, added, “You can’t put a value on someone like Doddie; she is a Trudeau historian; we need her background and history. Her knowledge is invaluable and so important for the individuals we serve.” Many people joked that Doddie’s reassurances of “this too shall pass” have helped them through many difficult times.
Doddie’s insistence on training and empowering colleagues and clients was a reoccurring theme of the hour. Many on the call thanked her for educating them and for looking at every error and achievement as a teachable moment. While Doddie seemed modest and even embarrassed with all the accolades, she conceded that 2020 and 2021 have been filled with teachable moments and that the anniversary has left her reflective. “It has been a year of fortitude where those dedicated to this field stepped out of their usual assignments, rolled up their sleeves and worked in whatever capacity necessary to maintain the safety and well-being of the people we support. A year ago, we faced an immediate sense of urgency to create something – a system of support outside of our usual comfort zone. This was a challenge we had never encountered – but we never gave a second thought to failing, it simply wasn’t an option.”
We could not have said it better, Doddie. Thanks for four decades of you!