Accord Employee Spotlight: Mike Urgo
Accord employee Mike Urgo has dedicated his life to providing for others. His story began in a different place than most; he originally went to school for cabinet making! Those skills are part of what led him to originally work at this organization, as a maintenance staff member.
Before that, Mike’s other career stints included him working as a fireman, a first responder and in a group home — all of those roles have one thing in common: They intend to help people.
As time passed at this organization, Mike transitioned from being a part-time maintenance man + part-time counselor to eventually becoming a full-time counselor. Mike has worked here for more than 25 years and is one of the longest-tenured employees of this organization. He primarily works with clients that have autism.
“Helping people is what drives me and makes me tick.”
Over time, Mike’s had several clients, all with their own unique stories, which required him to wear many hats to get things done. He has helped find job placements that best suit a person and their needs. A past client had aggressive tendencies; Mike’s curation and job placement resulted in his client’s persistent problems decreasing in severity.
Another client came from a difficult personal life, with his mother committing suicide when he was young, and his brother passing of an overdose. The client had no desire for a group home environment and expressed that he would prefer to ride horses (equine therapy) over any other type of therapy or mental health program.
Not only did Mike obtain county approval for the equine therapy needed, he fought, so the county also agreed to pay for those services. Mike’s presence became a constant and stable part of that client’s life. He has since completed the equine therapy and still rides a few times a week.
Scott, a notable longtime client of Mike, has a dual diagnosis of mental illness and autism. They’ve worked together for nearly 25 years!
For Scott, Mike is an essential asset to him every day, which manifests in several ways. Mike collaborates with Scott’s mother, his main caretaker, and guardian, to see through that her son has the highest and best quality of life suited for him. Mike is involved with many parts of Scott’s life, which has him supporting hobbies, which include transportation to and from community activities, assistance with grocery shopping, and acting as a companion for things like kayaking, hiking, and biking.
“I’ve always treated clients like their lives are just like mine, just different.”
The authentic approach Mike uses is what creates a strong bond of trust between him and every person he works with.
At 73, Mike has shown no indications or desire to stop his work and will continue to do what he loves most, with the people he values and appreciates. He’s always aiming to provide them with the resources that they need and can use to live their greatest lives.
To him, this isn’t a job. It’s his life.
Mike, thank you for all that you do, both for Accord and all the individuals you’ve served!