The McCrimmon Award is named for Ed McCrimmon, a longtime member of the Autism Society of North Carolina staff. He was known for his outstanding dedication and integrity as he served individuals with autism. Tragically, he died in 2017. The McCrimmon Award was established to keep Ed’s memory alive, and at the same time, celebrate others like him who give their heart and soul in providing critical care to individuals with autism. This award is sponsored by Rob and Jennifer Christian.
This year, two direct support professionals — Jo Herring and Karen Pullom — were chosen to receive the McCrimmon Award for their outstanding work. Learn more about their impact, directly from the people who nominated them:
Nominated by Christie Nuckolls
Jo Herring is an angel on earth. Jo’s dedication to my son has made our family run so much better. With three teenage boys, Jo’s help has enriched all their lives. She is always on time, always shows up, is flexible and reviews the upcoming week with me to see if she needs to fill in or cover for any appointments or activities.
As if that’s not enough, two years ago she was diagnosed with cancer and continued to work with my son even as she received treatment. She created a “in case of an accident” card for him to hand to a police officer if they were in a car accident and worked tirelessly on toileting skills so we can keep a clean bathroom.
She is amazing and very deserving of this award!!
Nominated by Bill Jarrett
Karen Pullom has worked daily with our son Alejandro for a year at the day program, and before that she worked with him during summers and filling in for his regular worker. Several months ago, Alejandro began limping very badly. Since he is almost non-verbal, we had no way of knowing exactly what hurt him. When he got well enough to walk, Karen took him to several shoe stores to get a custom orthotic made for him. While doing so she met a shoe sales rep who had a child with autism and that person suggested trying a different kind of shoe. I then went with Alejandro and had him fit for that shoe, and his foot problems have not returned. Karen took time with Alejandro and explained the problem to several people until she found a solution to his foot problem. That is not part of her job description, yet she did it anyway and communicated with us about what she learned.
Karen was also committed to finding a way for Alejandro to swim and enjoy the water this summer. Alejandro has had a couple of episodes at the YMCA pool which have prevented him from going back for a time. He loves the water and the pool is very good exercise for him, as well as very soothing and calming. Karen took it upon herself to find a creative solution, and she did. Alejandro was able to swim and enjoy the water for much of the summer because Karen kept looking for a solution that would work for him.
These are just two examples of how Karen enriches Alejandro’s life by understanding him, advocating for him and making an effort to find creative ways for Alejandro to learn and enjoy himself.Tags: autism, Autism Society of North Carolina, autism support, direct support professional