BOSTON — Vicente de la Rosa of Lawrence worked in a hospital in the Dominican Republic for 10 years before emigrating to the United States and becoming a personal care assistant. As a PCA, he provides daily care to two clients, who are able to live independently because of his help. De la Rosa was honored last month by the state for his dedication. He was one of five individuals from across the state receiving the third annual Paul Kahn Award for PCA Service at an event at the State House.
PCAs support elders and individuals of all ages who have disabilities by assisting them with activities of daily living that they are unable to do themselves, such as bathing, dressing, meal preparation and shopping. PCAs also make it possible for many people with disabilities to go to work by helping them prepare for a day in the workplace.
“This award acknowledges the vital role that PCAs play in assisting more than 20,000 Massachusetts residents with tasks of everyday living. PCAs make it possible for people to live independently, with varying amounts of assistance,” said Elenore Parker, president of Rewarding Work Resources. De la Rosa was nominated for the award by both of his employers, Juan Cosme and Juan Santos, both Lawrence residents, who say that De la Rosa goes out of his way regularly. De la Rosa attends medical appointments with the men, gives out medications, and trains other PCAs to work with them. When Cosme was hospitalized with severe pneumonia for two weeks, De la Rosa visited him and provided care to him during his hospital stay, even though he could not be paid for those hours. De la Rosa commits a portion of his free time to improving the quality of PCA work, is a member of the collective bargaining committee for the PCA Worker’s Union 1199SEIU, and also serves on the labor management committee.