Since 1982, Robert “Bob” McGuire has worked at Cerebral Palsy Nassau (CP Nassau). It is his continued commitment to advocating and raising awareness for those with special needs that he has been named this year’s Theresa Award Recipient.
CP Nassau is an independent, not-for-profit health agency serving over 1,800 children and adults with cerebral palsy, developmental and other disabilities. The Association, founded in 1948, operates a comprehensive Treatment and Rehabilitation Center in Roosevelt, New York which has earned international recognition for innovative and high quality programs. Many state-of-the-art services are provided in the Fortunoff Treatment and Rehabilitation Center and other areas of the facility.
Bob began his career with CP Nassau as a Coordinator of Residential Services and later became the Executive Director in 1997.
Bob feels very strong about giving back to the program participants at CP Nassau, their families, and to his staff and volunteers. When asked why, he simply stated, “If everyone were to only look out for themselves, it would be a pretty cruel world.” He is a no-nonsense kind of guy when it comes to people and children with disabilities. There is zero tolerance for not taking care of people in need.
Bob has worked to empower and motivate staff, program participants and volunteers to work together to provide the best possible environment for people with disabilities and their families to live as independently and productively as possible in their community. In our conversation, he stressed over and over again, the importance of working together. He referenced a quote by the late Pete Seeger, a folk singer/songwriter: “I look upon myself as a link in the chain.” Bob then said, “I think we are all a link in the chain and if we don’t all have our links together, then we have a hole and the chain is broken.”
Bob was the Executive Director when Theresa’s Fun Place came to fruition in 2004. The Playground and Park serve over 240 children on a daily basis.
Doing “the right thing” is really what guides Bob in his position at CP Nassau. He said, “There’s no right way to do the wrong thing; it’s much easier to fight for things that you think are right and you believe in – it’s that simple.” He credits his predecessor, Sal Gullo, with helping him make the right decisions. Sal told him the key to making the right decisions is asking yourself, “what is the right thing for the organization, then the fog will clear and you will have your answer.”
When asked to share a story where he had made a difference, Bob explained that he doesn’t think there is one single thing that he has done that has made a difference. He hopes that when his cumulative work is looked at over the years, it can be described as consistently doing the right thing for the residents and families of CP Nassau, as well as his staff.
In addition to his work at CP Nassau, Bob is also on the advisory board of Port Washington’s Children’s Center and Services for the Developmentally Challenged in the Bronx. When not at CP Nassau, Bob enjoys spending time with his wife, Isabelle, daughter, Jessica, son-in-law Chris and new granddaughter, Isabella.