Among those of us who care deeply for and about people with developmental disabilities, I hope to hear emerge a new voice, ours, rising together for the benefit of all, harmonizing with reason, respect and hope, and transcending divisions, giving birth to a new era of creative cooperation.

Toward this potential, DD EXCHANGE is for conversation, civil sounding off, sharing of stories, experience, information, resources, and inspiration, giving and receiving support, and creative problem solving.

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Friday, March 5, 2010

Prosecutor’s employee delivers with speed

Here is a heartwarming, "community" oriented, success story. It is reprinted from The Journal on line:

By Lauren Pack, Staff Writer 10:38 PM Sunday, February 28, 2010
HAMILTON — Elizabeth Crehan loves sports. Known as Liz or Lizzy to most, she excels in softball and is looking forward to playing shortstop this spring. But perhaps she should have considered track, because the 39-year-old laps everyone daily in her deliveries for the prosecutor’s office.
Crehan, daughter of retired Butler County Judge Matthew Crehan and sister of attorney Ken Crehan, showed off a trusty pair of black Reebok sneakers when asked what makes her so swift.
Her deep brown eyes are focused as she darts from office to office with mail, files and legal paperwork that has to get to the right place — now.
A no-nonsense haircut and serviceable outfits are the right fit for a full day of work, but make no mistake — there is nothing ordinary about Crehan’s work ethic or smile. She knows everyone in the Government Services Center and always takes time to say “hi” and catch up on the latest scuttlebutt.
“She makes us smile,” said Marcia Holstein. prosecutor’s office receptionist.
Crehan, a Hamilton High School graduate with development disabilities, has held the position for 18 years. She has no plans of making any changes.
“I like what I do,” Crehan said. “I would miss my friends too much,’
Her father laughed and said, “they have to make her take a vacation.”
Despite her challenges, Crehan has a memory for numbers, which makes an often-painstaking job a breeze for her. She pulls scores of case files for the seven common pleas court dockets.
“She can pull 70 lickity split,” Holstein said. “It’s amazing how she remembers the cases by their case numbers.”
When not on the run, Crehan operates the shredder, destroying paperwork. Sometimes it takes hours.
“It’s my job,” Crehan said, shrugging at the notion that it is a tedious job.
The ‘can-do person’
When Crehan’s father, Matthew, got involved in politics in his election bid for Butler County common pleas judge, it wasn’t his late wife Sheila’s cup of tea. So he called upon his daughter as his escort.
“She got to know all the politicians,” the retired judge said with a laugh.
Her time on the event circuit also helped land Elizabeth a job in the prosecutor’s office. It’s a job she has relished for nearly two decades.
At the age of 20, the Big Blue alum was offered a job as a “runner” by then-Butler County Prosecutor John Holcomb. Eighteen years later she is still running.
Fellow employees and hundreds of others in the Butler County Government Services Center who consider her a friend say she is rarely in a bad mood or absent from work.
The 39-year-old marks her rounds daily, moving swiftly and easily to county departments making deliveries. Then she settles back to the office on the 11th floor for filing and document shredding duties.
Her description of daily duties:
“I come in, take my jacket off, leave my pop on the table, sign in, go to the clerk’s office to get things stamped, drop off stuff to offices, take the mail to judges’ mailboxes, bring mail up, go to auditor’s office for Susan and Melissa,” Crehan said. “That’s it.”
She also tries to squeeze in some document shredding and filing time.
Around the office, Crehan is known as the “can-do person.”
“You will often hear her name on the intercom,” said Prosecutor Robin Piper, “because we need to get something somewhere fast.”
Piper said Crehan is the personal pipeline for his office to other county offices. He described her as efficient and focused.
When Crehan isn’t working, she is at sporting events, movies, dances or out to dinner. She loves vampire movies and Mexican food best. Many of the events and outings are coordinated by the Butler County Board of Developmental Disabilities.
“She has more of a social life that I do,” said Matthew Crehan.
Elizabeth was adopted as a baby. Despite countless trips to hospitals, her developmental challenges were never fully diagnosed, her father said. He said he now believes she has a form of autism.
It was important to Matthew and Sheila Crehan that their youngest child be as self-sufficient as possible. And today she is.
Hidden talents
Crehan lives in West Hamilton with her cat, Gabe. She shops with her father for groceries, but cooks for herself and sometimes bakes treats for co-workers.
“She always looks on the bright side. Maybe more of us should try that,” Matthew Crehan said.
Sandy Fowler, a county court administrative assistant, drives Crehan to and from work most days. Fowler has sisters with developmental disabilities and also considers Crehan her sister.
“She is off the charts,” Fowler said about Crehan’s independence and work ethic. Fowler also noted another of Crehan’s hidden talents — singing.
“She loves to sing with the radio — loud,” Fowler said with a laugh.
Matt Reed, Crehan’s softball coach in the county’s therapeutic recreation league for the disabled, said you can set your watch by Elizabeth. She eats lunch nearly daily with Reed, who is staff attorney/magistrate for Butler County Judge Keith Spaeth. Many days Spaeth also joins them.
“She is always here on the dot for lunch, but she also knows when it is time to go back to work,” Reed said.
One day Reed said he told Crehan she was infamous around the courthouse.
She smiled and said, “No. I’m just popular.”

more on SB6182

Understanding that it is never over until the budget is signed by the Governor, if all goes well, SB-6182, the bill that would have removed RHCs from state statute, has died. As of 5:45, with cut-off at 6:00, it had not passed out of the Rules Committee, and Committee Chair Brad Owens' Aide did not consider it probable that it would at such a late hour.

How this would affect the budget proviso that would fund closure of FHMC is a question mark. In theory it should prevent it but those of us who depend on RHC services and those who want to be able to, some day, will have to stay vigilant right up to the end.