Chapter 5: Future of M5 Organization, Reflections on Career
01:15:06:25 - 01:15:26:27
L. You mentioned that you and Carol are still working.
L. Sam is not?
E. Sam is in his mid-eighties now and reluctantly, very reluctantly retired a year ago. Uh, very reluctantly! He still throws it in our face.
01:15:28:05 - 01:16:31:29
L. So I'm wondering, Earl, um you're such a hands on organization as you've described. Um how do you handle succession planning for when you and Carol might retire also?
E. Right well we have a plan for that because we're looking at that happening over the next two or three years. We've already replaced someone in our office who was a vital person in our office; a financial person who had been with us forties years. Who really, the financial end of this business is an overwhelming part of the business now so for someone to be able to step in and replace that person was… refer… we're… that's where we wanted to start because that's sort of in the office but we are grooming people from within the agency to take our shoes and I don't think I'll ever be retired, if anything maybe part-time person as an assistant to the program director or whatever; maybe even volunteering.
01:16:34:10 - 01:17:30:05
L. Has M5 accomplished the goals that you and Carol and Sam set out to accomplish when you started so many years ago?
E. Oh geez. I don't think I've ever addressed that idea. I would assume we have. If you look back then when we started, um maybe we're more realistic now and less idealistic and people uh have accomplished a lot but maybe not be uh totally independent like our original, you know, dreams were but have gained relationships with people, gained language, uh have an active happy life. Happiness is a big part of what we want to accomplish and I think our people as they are as happy as we've been able to help them become, yeah.
01:17:32:10 - 01:17:48:21
L. When you look back at your own work,
01:17:48:22 - 01:18:32:19
L. …when you look back on your career, what are you proudest of?
E. What am I the proudest of? I would assume just the daily operations of the agency. I think we're still here doing what we felt we should be doing and what we wanted to do. I love it. It's um… it's what I… I didn't know this in the beginning but it's what I wanted to do and I'm happy doing it. Uh if I have to come in here seven days a week it's not a problem because it… it has, it has a benefit.
01:18:34:25 - 01:19:16:11
E. The actual operation of the group home; its daily operation is what I'm proud of. I think we have a quality agency that helps people be happier in life and that's our goal really and I think we do that and we work on that and we accomplish that on a daily basis and that's what I'm proud of.
01:19:18:20 - 01:19:46:02
L. Is there anything that you had hoped to accomplish for M5 that you haven't accomplished yet?
E. Well you always want more money for your staff and I never turn a penny down. If there is some funding somewhere I find it and get it to them if I can so I would like them to be more appreciated by being able to reimburse them better.
01:19:48:05 - 01:20:41:08
L. I'm wondering if you consider yourself a leader in this field.
E. No. I'm one of those people who does the work, you know. Back in the beginning when there were people making waves and trying to get this all started, um, we were on their bandwagon for sure but we basically preformed a task, provide a service, worked in that way. Um, if that is leading other people to do it, I guess it is but um, we didn't see it that way. We saw it was just how do we get this done? How do we do this? Do we do it this way? Do we do it that way? And just went forward to try to solve it and that's how we've always been.
01:20:43:07 - 01:20:56:05
L. So you had an idea, um a vision for supporting people in the community, um, that's been realized for maybe about forty years and counting?
E. Yeah it's hard to believe.
01:20:56:15 - 01:21:35:16
L. Would you say that you, Sam, and Carol are still the three musketeers?
E. Oh yeah, yeah, the three musketeers or the three dancing bears; one or the other. No we still are who we were back then; the idea person, the person who plows forward with the work, and the person who uh thinks and accomplishes goals, creates goals.
L. Which are you?
E. I'm the plodder.
L. Thank you.
About Earl Duff
Founder, Co-Director, M5, Inc.
Community, Communication, Deaf, Employment, Group Homes, PARC, Pennhurst, Providers