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The Legacy of a Phoenix Family

The legacy of a Phoenix family will live on with a fund set up in honor of their sister.

It goes without saying that our lives are more enriched by the people we support here at Phoenix than one could ever imagine.  People often say we are special because of the work that we do, but truth be told  the people we work with are the special people; we have been put in their lives so they can teach us a thing or two. 

We learn so much from them about life, patience, understanding, being genuine, being content!  I could go on and on. Barb Deeney one of our pioneers, in the group of the first 40 people we served at our Flagship facility, on Colorado St. who later became a resident at the Foss House is one of those people who have taught us and inspired us with her politeness and beautiful smile.

“She was the most genuine person you ever met,” said former Program Manager Elizabeth Larson. “She was someone who could brighten up anyone’s day. I’ll never forget her smile and her kindness.”

Barb moved into The Phoenix Residence’s main building in the early 2000s. Barb’s genuine personality radiated as she built a group of life- long friendships here at Phoenix Don Bond and Susan Foss were two that she met early on and decided to become housemates with at Foss House. 

Barb enjoyed playing Yahtzee and competing in Special Olympics, she was determined to finish what she started. “She loved playing games,” Larson said. “She was the best Scrabble player. If she didn’t know your word, she’d question you and look it … But that’s what was great about her, she always wanted to keep her brain active.”

Strong Family Bonds

And she did just that when her family would come to visit. She loved playing card games and Scrabble with them. Although her family lived out of state, they always made time to visit her. “Their love for Barb was amazing to see, because so many people with disabilities don’t have that support,” Larson said.

Throughout the years, their family has donated time and effort to their sister’s home. Not only have they consistently donated to our fundraisers, but they’ve taken care of the Foss House too. Larson noted that Gerry Deeney, Barb’s father, would often ask ‘Is there anything you need at the house?’ and he made sure they got it. When Barb’s health started to decline, he was instrumental in installing a ceiling lift for her in the home.

“They definitely considered me like family,” said Larson. “The care and respect they had for me, it felt amazing to have that great relationship.”

Unfortunately, Barb’s healthy declined. When she moved into Foss House, she already had the onsets of dementia, but that didn’t stop her from doing the things she loved and spending time with those she cared about. Larson’s favorite memory of Barb was just sitting and talking with her in the morning with their cups of coffee. “She genuinely loved you,” recalled Larson.

As time progressed, however, her condition eventually confined her to a power wheelchair. She passed away in 2017, due to complications from pneumonia.

And the Legacy Continues

Although their sister has passed away, the Deeney family continues to be a blessing to The Phoenix Residence. Just this month, Pat Burns set up a fund in honor of her sister Barb as a means of supporting The Phoenix Residence and continuing the legacy of her father.

With this fund, The Phoenix Residence will receive a designated donation every year for the next 10 years. The Deeney Sisters Fund will support our direct care personnel, including those at the program manager level, by enhancing already-developed programs.

“I would truly like to keep my sister’s name alive in your organization,” said Burns. “Thank you for all the good things that Phoenix Residence did for my sister.”

And thank you to the Deeney family for all you’ve done for The Phoenix Residence! It truly was an honor to serve Barb!

The Deeney Sisters Fund

Thanks to their generous donation, these proposed programs will continue to prosper here at The Phoenix Residence.

Aspiring Leaders Program

The Aspiring Leader program assists individuals currently working at The Phoenix Residence in developing their leadership skills to take on greater roles and responsibilities within their current job or to  transition into a position with greater responsibility within the organization.

Scholarship Program

The Phoenix Residence offers employees the opportunity to apply for a scholarship for those who are studying in a field related to the services Phoenix provides, such as nursing, human services, or social services. The scholarship assists with tuition, books, or other school-related expenses.

The Bridge Program

 We recognize that hardships may arise and Phoenix employees may need help from time to time. Because of this, The Bridge Program helps individuals get through a crisis situation when no other help is available with this short-term, no-interest loan program.

Employee of the Month & Customer Service Award

 Here at Phoenix, we like to recognize our employees for a job well done! Coworkers or managers nominate employees each month for our Employee of the Month and Customer Service awards. The winning employee receives a certificate, a monetary award or a day off, and acknowledgment in the internal company newsletter and company website.

Annual Employee Recognition Luncheon

This annual luncheon recognizes all of our employees for their ongoing contributions to Phoenix. At this luncheon, we take time to specifically acknowledge those with significant years of service and highlight important events or milestones accomplished during the year.

Outstanding Leadership Award

Our Outstanding Leadership Award recognizes outstanding employees who display leadership qualities and act as a good role model for all employees, regardless their position. All nominees receive acknowledgment and a monetary award.

Annual Employee Gifts

The Phoenix Residence makes an effort to provide all employees with a year-end token of appreciation in the form of check. We are also exploring opportunities to fund a year-end bonus for direct care personnel proportionate to the number of hours they worked during the year.

A Ride to Work

For the first time, The Phoenix Residence developed a working relationship with Uber for Business this year. The purpose of this program is to help employees get to and from work in a crisis situation.

Stay tuned to next year’s Annual Report for an update on these programs!


Legacy Gifts
Are you interested in leaving a legacy gift with The Phoenix Residence? Any amount is greatly appreciated! Please contact Jackie Larson at 651-294-7964 or jlarson@phoenixresidence.org for more information.