Office for People With Developmental Disabilities

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Torrey Maher

REGION: 1 – Finger Lakes

Position: Direct Support Assistant

Years of Service: 13


“Among the greatest reasons I continue to enjoy this field is the process of promoting a positive, compassionate environment for learning and growth,” says Torrey Maher. “I find that whatever I give in these aspects, I receive back tenfold from the individuals I care for – a smile or a shared laugh are therapeutic on both sides of the relationship. A general appreciation for the simple moments in life is something that my heart has come to know.

As a direct support assistant, I am blessed with developing bonds that become a sense of second family,” she adds.


According to Nancy Mamed, Developmental Assistant III and Torrey’s supervisor, during the 13 years that Torrey has worked at OPWDD, she has had only one call in – when her grandmother passed away.

“She refuses to call in and have one of her peers stuck on a mandatory double – when her flight was delayed during a vacation, Torrey took it upon herself to ensure that her shift was covered and work-adjusted with her peers,” says Mamed. “Upon her return to duty, Torrey gave her peers gifts to show her appreciation for helping her out.”

She adds that Torrey is always willing to work-adjust with her peers to obtain time off for others, as well as for herself. “She works 4- to-10-hour night shifts. When people remain home due to medical appointments, illness or due to a vacation day or partial retirement, Torrey often volunteers for the overtime to provide the needed staffing coverage to assist as needed, for however long is needed. She continually does this without hesitation and without complaint,” Mamed adds.

Torrey assists with training the new Direct Support Assistant trainees assigned to the home. She frequently reminds them of the positive rewards of caring for others and speaks positively of OPWDD’s mission statement, relating it to everyday tasks that all can do.

“Torrey never utters a harsh word about individuals, staff, supervisors or our agency,” Mamed says. “She is very understanding and encourages others to be understanding, as well.

“She will complete any task that is asked of her. If she is not sure how to do something, she will just ask for training and complete the task to an exemplary standard,” Mamed adds.

Torrey truly takes great pleasure in the little accomplishments of all individuals’ achievements, showering them with praise and she ensures that every day is a good day for every person she supports. She has taken individuals to specialty sporting events and is very patient and understanding as she provides encouragement and praise continually to both staff and individuals.

“With her record of one absence in 13 years, individuals know that they can always count on her to be there for them and assist them in any way possible,” Mamed says.

“Torrey is a shining light for the home. Her positive attitude illuminates all around her as she interacts with the people and the staff at the home. She has adopted her work family as a true second family. She is a joy to work with and an excellent role model to other DSA staff in our agency,” Mamed adds.