NORWALK, Conn. - STAR Inc., Lighting the Way, is saying goodbye to a beloved longtime employee as program specialist Larry Morelli retires after 26 years of helping people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families at the Norwalk nonprofit.
"Working at STAR has made me a better man,” said Morelli, a New Haven resident. He interviewed for his position at STAR in 1989 upon the encouragement of his friend, Tim Inwood. “I’ve always worked with Tim,” Morelli said. “He is my mentor, role model and boss. He is like my brother. It (work) can’t get any better than that.”
That feeling is reciprocated at Star, where Morelli is recognized for his success in working with the most challenging individuals who have intellectual and developmental disabilities and/or turning around the most difficult situations. He was instrumental in helping individuals transition from both the Mansfield Training School and the Southbury Training School and helped others transition from their family homes to new homes through STAR.
"I have to say that I really couldn’t choose a special client or colleague, if I had to answer a question about which ones were my favorites," he said. "There have been so many special clients and staff; and sometimes the folks who are the most difficult are the ones we become most attached to.”
Katie Banzhaf, executive director of STAR, said, “STAR is proud to have a family of dedicated employees like Larry, many of whom have celebrated their 20-, 25- and even 30-year anniversaries.
"We find that the professional attachment for the people we serve, and the personal passion for the mission to improve the lives and opportunities for each of these individuals is the common glue that keeps us together and makes each of our days rewarding. Larry’s impact on so many at STAR, both the staff he trained in PMT, and the residents and clients he supported, will be remembered for a long time.”
A retirement party and celebration for Morelli will be held at STAR Center on Friday in his honor.
STAR Inc., Lighting the Way is a not–for-profit organization established in 1952 to serve individuals of all ages who have intellectual and developmental disabilities, as well as providing support services to their families. For more information, visit the website at www.starct.org
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