Brittany Schwegman, 2009 Trustees’ Fund Awardee

Brittany Schwegman, 2009 Trustees’ Fund Awardee

Direct Care Behavior Assistant
Florida Division
Orange Part, Fla.

The Florida division contracts with the state to provide intensive behavioral services to some of the most aggressive individuals in the state. Timothy was just such a person. At 16, he was 6 feet, 3 inches tall and weighed 230 pounds. It typically took three to four people to restrain him due to his extreme size and strength. He had sent many staff members to the Emergency Room suffering from the effects of bites, punches, or attacks with weapons.

Earlier this year, four staff members, including Brittany Schwegman, were working at the group home where Timothy lived. On this evening, one resident, Adam, made a rude comment and gesture to Timothy. Timothy became enraged, tackled Adam, and started punching and choking him.

All four staff members rushed to Adam’s aid and attempted to pull Timothy off of him. Brittany quickly realized that all of them together would not be able to physically pull Timothy off and that Adam could be severely injured. Without hesitation or pause, Brittany threw herself onto Adam and stretched herself over his body like a soldier covering a grenade. Timothy became frustrated because he was unable to punch Adam around Brittany’s body and he jumped off of Adam.

Brittany has always been an exemplary staff member. She is always on time, always has a smile on her face, never complains, follows all the behavior plans, and consistently runs her skill acquisition programs. Many parents have complimented Brittany on her professionalism and how well she works with all residents. With this one act, she elevated herself from being in the top 1 percent of staff to being a true heroine. Not many people can say they have ever met a hero or a heroine. I have—I work with one, and her name is Brittany Schwegman.

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