Superintendent’s message: Spring 2020


A special message from our Superintendent (and our LCBDD and state system leaders) during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Superintendent Jason Umstot says, ‘Thank you.’

During this pandemic, we have been able to observe, and in many cases experience, the strength of true heroism. These heroes come from many professions, like the medical field, EMS, fire and law enforcement, supply chains like those making cleaning and paper supplies,
grocery stores and essential retailers.

In our field, our most important asset are our direct support professionals (DSPs). DSPs are our system’s heroes. DSPs are working every day to make sure that people with developmental disabilities receive the care and support they need. They are the most important component of our DD system. We have seen amazing strength, caring personalities and unselfish dedication from these frontline professionals.

Without fail, many DSPs put the people they support before themselves by coming to work every day and donning a mask for eight hours, or 12, and in some cases even 16 hours a day. Whatever is needed, DSPs rise to the occasion, even in a crisis.

We dedicate this edition of our newsletter to our DSPs and to the many others who are helping us through this pandemic.

To the dedicated provider agencies and county board staff who are coordinating and making sure people’s health and safety is a priority; you all have been amazing. To our county leadership who have praised the efforts of our county DD system and its workers — this empowers us to work harder. Additionally, our county health department has been informative to us regarding the prevention of exposure and spread of COVID-19.

Last, but not least, we appreciate our county citizens and businesses who have reached out to help and offer support. We owe all of you a debt of gratitude.

Without a strong system and local support, we definitely would be experiencing a greater number of challenges, but we have all pulled together as one and we will get through this. All of you make us LICKING COUNTY STRONG!

Contact Superintendent/CEO Jason L. Umstot by calling 740-349-6588 or email:

The state of Ohio says, ‘Thank you.’

“All of us in the DD support system know this is a strange and stressful time for the people we support and the people who support them. DSPs have been friends and caregivers to so many, and we will never forget or take for granted their long hours, dedication, and heart in the face of this crisis. To Ohio’s DSPs: Thank you.” — Bridget Gargan, Executive Director, Ohio Association of County Boards

“Direct Support Professionals are working tirelessly to support and encourage the people they serve. We admire not only their dedication and compassion, but also the sacrifices our DSPs are making during this pandemic. We are inspired by them every day! The Ohio Health Care Association is sincerely appreciative and grateful for the work you do on a daily basis. You truly are heroes! Thank you!” — Debbie Jenkins, Policy Director, Ohio Health Care Association

“It is a privilege for us, the Ohio Provider Resource Association (OPRA), to
honor Ohio’s Direct Support Professionals (DSPs). During the COVID-19 crisis, DSPs have made the commitment to provide compassionate and quality services to the people they support. Ohio’s DSPs, in the face of fear and worry, have risen to the challenge. They were heroes before this crisis and they continue to excel during this crisis. On behalf of the people you serve and a grateful state we would like to thank you for your commitment and compassion.” — Pete Moore, President/CEO, Ohio Provider Resource Association

LCBDD says ‘Thank you’

Thank you so much to all our DSP’s! The work you do is amazing and truly appreciated. We can’t say thank you enough for the important role you play in the lives of those you support. You have an incredible impact on our community.” — Luke Pintz, Director of Human Resources

“The pandemic can be scary for families and individuals. We are so fortunate to have so many amazing Direct Support Professionals in
Licking County. Their dedication has been a stabilizing force amidst the uncertainty and I would like to thank each and every one of them for their continued support of individuals during this time.” — Angie Finck, Director of Provider and Transition Supports

Thank you to all Licking County DSPs! Your selflessness, dedication and compassion are so appreciated! — Brandi Body, DSP Eligibility Specialist

I am so appreciative of the DSPs who day in and day out share a part of themselves as they help individuals with developmental disabilities. When thing may seem impossible, they find a way to make it happen. A BIG thank you for all that you do! — Caley Norton, Director of Early

“Thank you! You are a caregiver, an aide and a driver, among other things. Most importantly you are a friend to those who you help and assist every day. Be healthy and safe! Remember many things have been cancelled or closed, HOPE is not one of them. #DSPStrong.” — Gary Smith, Chief Financial Officer

“I’d like to extend a heartfelt thank you to all of our agency providers and their staff. They’ve gone to extraordinary lengths to provide the services people need while navigating the fallout from a global pandemic the likes of which we haven’t seen for generations! Tons of unknowns, new challenges, personal risks and often a lack of resources on top of everything else. And yet…they continued to ensure folks they serve have what they needed to stay healthy, safe, and happy. Again, a heartfelt THANK YOU to all of you.” — David McManus, Provider Support Coordinator

“I worked at Licco for many years, and observed first-hand the dedication and skill of the DSPs who worked there. Their compassion, friendship and advocacy for the people they worked with was second to none. They helped people achieve goals that were important to them, and they
supported and encouraged families. DSPs do amazing work, and they have such a positive impact on people’s lives. Thank you, DSPs, for all that you do!” — Beth Tharp, Executive Administrative Manager

“Our providers/DSPs have been the ultimate team players during COVID-19. They continue to be patient, kind and empower people with disabilities living in Licking County! I am so grateful for the positive attitudes they have shown during this crisis! We are lucky to have them on our team!”
— Abby Spear, Director of Service Coordination

“It has been such a privilege to witness and celebrate the amazing work DSPs do every day in Licking County. We will never stop talking about the work of our #DSPHeroes and I know I will be sharing stories about the amazing people who stepped up for the people we support for many years to come. Thank you!” — Anna Jeffries, Public Information Officer

Note: These messages accompany a special COVID-19 edition of the LCBDD spring newsletter Momentum, which will be distributed in through the months of May and June. If you would like to receive this newsletter and be added to our mailing list, contact Anna Jeffries at 740-322-6911 or For a digital PDF version of the newsletter, click here.

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