Deborah Boone Lights Up Everyone's Life at Melwood and Goddard
June 29, 2011
Deborah Boone is caring by nature, whether for her Melwood team or for her friends and family.
What is most interesting about your role here at Goddard?
I get to Building 8 by 7:30 a.m. Melwood gives us all we need. We work with brooms, dust pans, mops, and different cleaning chemicals. I pick up the supplies and materials for my team. We are a team because we work together. We have a weekly schedule. Every Monday is the same, but each day within the week is different. Once we complete the daily schedule, we look to see if there is anything else that needs to be done just to keep things up in the building.
I came to Goddard in August 2010 and have always worked in Building 8. I have three people that work under my supervision. My people usually work for me for about a year until they are able to work on their own. After that, Melwood usually assigns them to another building because it helps them become independent, grow more, and learn how to do different things. Melwood will also split the teams so that everyone gets used to working with a lot of people.
|Photo of Deborah Boone. Credit: W. Hrybyk
Once in a while, I get to continue working with somebody. Jemaar “Blue” Blue will always work with me because we really work well together. I keep up with him most of the time and I’m able to keep him on task.
My people live independently. Some of them have disabilities, but to me, we all have one disability or another. That’s why I love working with people with disabilities. Three and a half years ago, I had a brain aneurysm. That was my disability at that time. As I teach them, I learn from them also.
Who is the most interesting, inspiring, or amazing person you have met or worked with at Goddard?
One of my all-time favorite people I have worked with is Earnest. His personality is just breathtakingly beautiful. He is the kindest person I have ever met. He always has a good word to say about everybody. He has a laugh that sticks with you in your heart. He will do anything you ask him to do. You never have to wonder about how he will act because he is always pleasant to everyone every day.
What was your best day or the best thing that ever happened to you at Goddard?
Back in October 2010, some of the ladies on the second floor bought me a gift because they said that I did such good work and that they appreciated me because I always think of others. I like seeing people happy. I had just brought in some books for the mothers to read in the lactating room. So they gave me some very nice cologne, body lotion, and gel.
What lessons or words of wisdom would you pass along to people with disabilities?
I tell my people who have disabilities not to be afraid to go out and do your best. To me, there is no job that is too big to be done. If you just take your time, you can achieve anything and do anything you want to do.
Is there something surprising about you, your hobbies, interests, or activities outside of work that people do not generally know (like you run ultra marathons or work on a NASCAR pit crew on weekends)?
Almost every day after work, I go to the house of an 81-year-old friend and take care of her for about four hours every weekday. We worked together for 7 ½ years before she retired. I promised her that I would take care of her and make sure that everything is OK. I usually go down there on weekends too. Sometimes I even wake up at 1:00 in the morning to check on her. I cook food and bring it to her to make sure that she eats right. She is diabetic and has the first stages of Alzheimers. Her family does not even bother with her. I help her but am not paid. After I make sure that she is alright, I go home and take care of my husband and my oldest granddaughter who is 11-years-old and lives with us.
Is there someplace in the world that you want to visit, or someplace you have been and want to go back?
I have never been, but I really want to go to Frankfurt, Germany where my favorite cousin has lived for the past 22 years. I want to see how life is there and the way the people live there. I always wanted to go on the autobahn and see how fast the cars drive. I don’t want to drive a car on the autobahn; I just want to be in the car. My cousin promised to take me to Paris if I meet her in Frankfurt.
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Elizabeth M. Jarrell
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.