Two north country men helped organize a public service announcement starring Reba McEntire that will run statewide.
Ms. McEntire, a Country Music Hall of Fame inductee, recorded the PSA two weeks ago. The PSA encourages New Yorkers with disabilities and their families to contact the state Office for People with Developmental Disabilities.
It came out of a conversation between Joe Rich, a Disabled Persons Action Organization board member and volunteer, and Travis Proulx, the spokesman for the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities. Mr. Proulx is a Croghan native and, incidentally, a big Reba fan.
Ms. McEntire was in Watertown over the summer for a DPAO concert.
"Joe Rich has done so much for the developmental disabilities field, and over the years has come to know Reba and her management team through her concerts benefiting the DPAO," Mr. Proulx said in an email explaining how this PSA came about. "One day, Joe and I we were discussing other ideas and initiatives, and I mentioned how great it would be to have someone like Reba helping us get the message out, statewide, about the services and supports that are available in New York. Joe offered to make the call and Reba agreed immediately, which was wonderful news."
Here's the script and the video:
“Hey, I'm Reba, and my niece Haley has a developmental disability. And I have seen firsthand the difference that caring professionals can make in the life of a loved one, as well as the many positive changes in how we as a society support individuals with developmental disabilities.
“For example, there was a time when we thought institutions were the best way to provide care, but now we are focused on community living, meaningful work, and many other opportunities.
“Today, a cause very near and dear to my heart is making sure that people with developmental disabilities and their loved ones know how to get the services and supports they need to live and enjoy their lives to the fullest.
“Please contact the New York State Office for People With Developmental Disabilities at 1-866-946-9733. Or visit them online at www.opwdd.ny.gov to learn more. Thanks so much for your time, and let's help each other out.”