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Shared Living Caregiver Honored with Unsung Hero Award

Nonotuck Resource Associates, Inc. is pleased to announce that Shared Living Caregiver Tonya Loveday was recently honored with the annual William Johnson Unsung Hero Award. Presented by the Berkshire Citizens Advisory Board to the Department of Developmental Services, the award acknowledges people who make significant yet often overlooked contributions to their community.

Since 2005, Tonya and her partner Paul have shared a home with John and Margaret O’Keefe, living fully integrated lives, blending families on both sides, celebrating holidays and birthdays, and enjoying family trips all over the Northeast. 

Nonotuck Care Manager Kari Barshdorf has worked with Tonya, John, and Margaret since 2016. “{Tonya’s home} is one of my favorite homes I've ever visited. There are only so many ways to express what your ideal shared living house would be, but Tonya's home is always what I picture. It embodies love and integration, including both her family and John and Margaret’s,” she says. “Tonya sets a great example of what we look for in shared living—it's what means the most.”

True to the nature of the award, Kari says Tonya’s reaction to being informed of the honor was one of humility. "When I talked to Tonya about her receiving the award, she was like, 'That was really nice of you, you know I don’t do this for the accolades.,'” she says. “She does what's in John and Margaret’s best interest, without needing anything else in return, just knowing that they’re taken care of."

About the Award 

William Johnson was a lifelong advocate for those in need of help. Prior to his many years of service as an advocate and service coordinator within the development disabilities field, William established a youth-based coffee shop called the “Harambe.” “Harambe” means “all pull together” in Swahili. He was a person who made substantive, yet often unrecognized, contributions to others. In his honor, the Berkshire Citizens Advisory Board to the Department of Developmental Services has established the annual “William Johnson Unsung Hero Award.”


Find out more about Shared Living

“(Through shared living) people with a disability experience a real transformation and discover confidence in themselves; they discover their capacity to make choices, and also find a certain liberty and above all their dignity as human beings.”

Caregiving with Love:
Guide for Shared Living Providers

Learn how Nonotuck developed a love-based ideology of care. We started our shared living program as an alternative to group homes for people with disabilities. Instead, Shared Living creates genuine life transformation for people with disabilities, as well as families and communities. The true power of caregiving is found through hospitality, authenticity, and love.

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