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My Grandfather’s Legacy
Speech given by Anthony Borreca
at the 2014 Awareness Breakfast featuring LifeCare

My name is Anthony Borreca. I feel very blessed to be the grandson of Frank Borreca – a man who came to Houston in 1956 with a passion to build a community that would provide care and support for persons with developmental disabilities. I may be the only person who can say that I got involved with the Center the day I left the hospital after being born. I lived in Cullen Residence hall for the first two years of my life with my parents when my father, Chris Borreca worked as the education director at the Center and my grandfather worked as the Executive Director.

For those who did not know him, Frank Borreca was the executive director for about 40 years or so. I would be more precise, however he had some trouble retiring from the Center, so the exact time is hard to say. I think whenever he tried to retire he quickly realized how much he truly missed the Center and he just had to come back. In some ways, much like the clients of the Center, he realized one of the things that gave him the most happiness in life was having a job and contributing to society. He always said we have a short time on this earth and we need to make the most of it. Sitting around idly without anything to do was not how he spent his time. He wanted, he needed, to be useful. And in his mind, the most useful thing he could do is help others. And he believed that if you were going to be helping others, you should help those who need the most help. And he believed people with developmental disabilities were the group that needed help the most. And within that group, people with developmental disabilities and no family around probably need help more than anyone. And it is that group that LifeCare serves.

I want to share a quote that I came across from one of the great longtime leaders of the Center, Jack Manning. “The philosophy in this organization has always been to fill the gaps of what is not being provided by government or the agencies.” Filling the gap of what other organizations or people are not providing is exactly what LifeCare is about, and really it what my grandfather was about. There is no organization out there like LifeCare. When an individual’s family is no longer around, LifeCare is there to help and to fill in the gaps that otherwise might have been left unfilled. From the simple things, like always making sure the right cake is served on an individual’s birthday to the complex, like ensuring someone is fully cared for throughout their life, LifeCare is there to help. As you saw, a LifeCare plan can start at any time, regardless of the situation of the client’s family. However it is the situations where an individual’s family is no longer able to care for their child where LifeCare really has an incredible impact.

One of the most difficult things I have gone through in my life was the loss of my grandfather. The loss of a person’s loved one will always be one of the most difficult things one has to endure in life. And unless one’s life is cut tragically short, everyone will have to endure that loss at some point in their lives. And for most people that loss will come with lost companionship, lost laughter, and lost love. But imagine if it also came with lost independence. If the loss of your love one coincided with the loss of your ability to travel around the city or to live in your home. Or to have a birthday party or to go to church. Or to have your laundry washed. That is where LifeCare steps in. To help make sure that individuals who have lost their family are not also having to lose the rest of their lives as well.

Now I don’t have any children yet, but I am sure that whenever I do my life will change. I will probably work a little less, drive a little slower, and take a little better care of myself. Because I will have someone depending on me. And the focus of my life will shift. As hard as my grandfather worked, and he worked very hard, he always made sure he was taking care of his family. That really is the idea that drives LifeCare. So how can you help? First, if you or anyone you know has a child or family member with developmental disabilities, you can work with LifeCare to set up a plan to ensure you child or family member is taken care of for the rest of their life. Regardless of their level of independence, there is always something that they may want or need that LifeCare can help provide. Second, regardless of whether or not you have anyone in your family with developmental disabilities you can work with the Center to set up a planned gift to the Center or to LifeCare. While the LifeCare team really can make every dollar count, as you can imagine they can always use a little more help. Thank you all for your time today, I really appreciate it and I am sure the hundreds of individuals that the Center and LifeCare serve appreciate it even more.

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