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"Sometimes the ordinary is very extraordinary..."

John was unable to live in the county where he grew up because no provider was able to support him due to his significant behavioral challenges. He was at risk of being institutionalized. With the help of Wisconsin Coalition for Advocacy and his mother, John started services with REM Wisconsin in Dane County.

David LaVallee had already experienced the commitment, satisfaction, and hard work of forging one long-term relationship with someone who had chronic and persistent mental health challenges. Sadly, this gentleman passes away. David was looking for the right fit to support someone else who had challenged typical supports and to develop another relationship that would bond two people together. Then, along came John...

David agreed to transfer to John's new home as live-in coordinator where an incredible relationship was born. David quickly realized how important physical activity seemed to John and adapted his own lifestyle to suit John's. By the way, this lifestyle was opposite of the one he lived the previous individual. John and David swim, lift weights, and play basketball at the YMCA several times a week; they've gone canoeing and hiking on day trips; they've done overnight camping several times and have met up with John's mother at the camp grounds. Last summer, David connected John up with a community farm where John picked his own vegetables.

On every holiday and every other opportunity in between, David has driven John to visit his mother at her home almost sixty miles one way because John responds so positively to seeing his mother who is unable to make the trip to John's.

David's efforts every day show an "above and beyond" commitment to John. And this typifies David's attitude about the "person" inside the label, as he has shown in the relationships he forms with each individual.