What’s Your Why? Debbie Kaegi
“My greatest wish if for others to realize people living with developmental disability are really no different from them. We all have challenges, we all want the same things – to be happy, loved, safe and fulfilled by our life.”
When you take a tour of St. Joseph Home, no matter who your guide for the day is, your first stop will almost always be the same – our Hall of History. The frequently trafficked corridor tells the story of St. Joseph Home throughout our transition in mission with framed newspaper clippings, yellowing pictures, and artifacts from the original Home. The careful curator’s desk sits just 20 feet and two doors away. Our longest-standing employee, Archivist, Historian, and Safety & Compliance Coordinator: Debbie Kaegi.
With experience across our organization- including Caregiver, Assistant Program Director, Medical Records Director, and Staff Development Director- Debbie’s “why” has been influenced by 38 years and is, simply put, people.
“Of course my biggest reason for being here is who we serve,” said Debbie. “Being a beneficiary of someone’s love and trust is a great and humbling gift that I’ve experienced here daily. Each person I’ve served has touched my heart in a unique way and they have helped me become a better person.”
The relationships that Debbie has developed have made a distinct impact, and granted her a “personal realization that this isn’t just a job” a long time ago.
“The incredible staff give all that they can so that everyone here has the care, comfort, and opportunities that they deserve. It’s an honor to work alongside my colleagues,” she continued.
As Safety and Compliance Coordinator, Debbie assists with our New Hire Orientations. The newest members of our organization have the opportunity to be taught by the person who perhaps knows our history and culture best.
“Our story has become my personal passion,” Debbie said. “I love to share St. Joseph Home’s struggles of the earliest years- how we have contributed to great accomplishments and advancements happening today and how our original, audacious dream inspires our future dreams of the same heart.”
Early on in her career, Debbie and her coworkers recognized the value and ability of the residents at SJH.
“We knew the individuals in our care were capable of so much more than society told us to expect. We found ways to connect and for people to surprise us– it’s all about providing opportunities and support systems that expect growth and achievement.”
Debbie works to continuously provide that culture and environment both for residents and fellow staff members to this day. Thank you, Debbie, for dedicating your career to enriching the lives of everyone you’ve worked alongside over the years. There is no one more able to hold the history of St. Joseph Home than you.