#FacesOfAbilityFriday – Mark O.

This week on #FacesOfAbilityFriday we’re featuring Mark O. Mark lives in one of MORA’s residential homes. We spent some time with Mark, chatting about his life, and talked to Billy and Kim, two staff who have worked closely with him.

Mark doesn’t work anymore but has a recreational program that he does with a 1:1 staff during the day. During this 1:1 time, Mark will look for volunteer opportunities in the community. He isn’t currently doing any volunteering but has done a lot in the past and hopes to start up again soon. When he did work, Mark was at Parks and Recreation.

Mark grew up in Bethel, CT. He was well-known in the Bethel community and received accolades from the Mayor as well as the state legislators for his work in Eagle Scouts. He has two sisters and a brother and is very close to his family.

Mark is a music junkie. He loves 80s rock music. He has a collection of CDs from bands that came out of the 80s and knows the lyrics to all the songs. Billy described Mark as a “human jukebox,” which we agree with! Mark will often break out in song and serenade staff with lyrics from all kinds of stuff, from Prince to Def Leppard to Christmas carols. Singing and music are both important to Mark.

Mark has a few quirks as well, just like you and me. He’s a super funny guy. He has a great sense of humor and is constantly cracking jokes and making the people around him laugh. He likes to banter back and forth with staff and loves to have jam sessions, where they blast the music and sing aloud to songs. (Nikki had a Prince jam session with Mark this past winter and it was awesome!) Mark wants to make sure that he says grace before every meal as well. He’s very particular about this and won’t start eating his food until it’s been done.

There are lots of special things that Kim and Billy told us about Mark. Billy said that Mark loves to give people nicknames, as it helps him to remember who the person is. Billy described getting a nickname from Mark as “one of the biggest honors a DSP working with Mark can receive.” Kim said that Mark has a nickname as well, “Beek,” which he’s had since childhood and continues to go by today. She said that in high school, Mark was the star basketball player in his school. Mark was so good at basketball that he had a scholarship to play basketball at Georgetown University before sustaining a Traumatic Brain Injury.

Mark is involved in his community in a few ways. His father used to be involved in local politics, and this helped Mark make connections in the community and get a bit of exposure. Mark loves spending time at the Chaska Community Center, where he enjoys people watching and socializing. Mark also loves trying restaurants in the community, not just for the food aspect but for the socialization that comes with it too!


Quick facts about Mark:

He likes pizza, especially pepperoni. He also enjoys Snickers, bananas, and apples.
Mark doesn’t like onions.
When it’s time to relax, Mark likes to listen to soft rock music in his room or sit down with staff and chat about all sorts of things.
His favorite holiday is his birthday, which he loves to celebrate.
Mark loves action movies, especially “Star Wars.” His favorite character is Luke Skywalker.

Check out the MORA Facebook and Instagram pages for more info on Mark!
Written by Nikki Storebo