Daily Point of Light # 1964 Aug 14, 2001

The Dallas Home for Jewish Aged/Golden Acres Campus is a 31- acre facility that is celebrating their 45th birthday this year. They have a 265-bed nursing home and a 40-unit apartment complex for independent and assisted living residents in addition to a 200-unit mini high rise for low-income housing. One of the most important areas that volunteers serve is their Rehab Services Department. The Home provides occupational therapy, rehabilitation therapy, and speech and hearing in this department. Most of the residents need some assistance getting from their room into the Rehab department for their treatments, and those volunteers are called Rehab aides.

Mario Montejo is the “official” Rehab aid for the Rehab Services department. He is a learning disabled man who has volunteered on the campus since 1970. As a teenager he came with his mom to inquire about volunteer opportunities a little over 30 years ago, and he has been a fixture at the Home ever since.

Montejo knows every resident, their room number, and what services they require. He is responsible for training all new volunteers to the Rehab Services department and arrives daily at 8:00 am. His training ranges from proper wheelchair training to etiquette with the patients. Montejo stays at the Home in the evenings until all “his” residents have returned to their rooms.

Montejo works with the Rehab department four days a week, and also works on Sundays. He assists with transport aid for programming on the weekends. Montejo is loyal to the residents and believes they depend on him. That is why he walks to work not matter the weather forecast or conditions. He lives nearby and averages 80 hours per month in his volunteer efforts for the Home.

This Home would not be able to provide the gamut of services they do without the assistance of volunteers. Their dedication and commitment help with the success of the entire program and the wellness of the clients. The average age of the residents is 88, and many of them look to Montejo as a reason to get up in the morning. He pays attention to each and every one of them, and they feel special with that tender care.

Montejo is learning disabled, but that is strictly a label. He sets goals and just as other men his age do, he works and takes care of himself. Though he cannot drive and has some difficulties with multi-tasking, Montejo has compensated by walking to work and breaking his duties into steps. In addition to his service at The Home, Montejo also serves at his church, Central Lutheran, in the vacation Bible school program, Families United for Nurture and the Men’s Club.