Eden Autism Direct Support Professional Bertie Batson believes “you make a living by the things you get, you make a life by the things you give.” For the past 25 years, Bertie has given individuals with autism the support, trust, and friendship that’s enabled them to live joyful, independent lives.
Bertie is retiring this month after an incredible career — two and a half decades spent caring for the men at Bonnell House.
“Bertie’s commitment to the individuals at Bonnell House and their families, along with the friendship and guidance he provided his colleagues, has left a lasting impression on this organization,” said Eden Autism President & CEO Michael Decker. “We are all very thankful for everything Bertie has done to support adults with autism over the last 25 years.”
Bertie’s colleagues celebrated Bertie last week at a retirement luncheon. His coworkers turned friends said that Bertie made work a fun place to be, and he always was respectful toward his co-workers, the families, and the individuals Eden supports.
“He has always advocated for the participants, and he developed really strong relationships with their families as well,” said David Fusco, Assistant Director of Residential Services.
Before joining Eden, Bertie worked as a correctional officer. “I was a correctional officer for 20 years at Trenton State Prison, and I saw so much violence and meanness there. When I got out, I wanted to do something different. I wanted to help people,” he said.
Bertie’s legacy of helping others will remain at Eden long after his retirement. He knows the men at Bonnell House better than anyone, caring for them while helping them to continue to grow and master daily living skills.
In addition to caring for the men of Bonnell House, Bertie was a trusted mentor among his staff. He was always there to help new DSPs and supervisors get to know the individuals, their routines, and families.
Bertie’s dedication to the individuals he supported did not go unnoticed. In 2019, Bertie was awarded the DSP of the Year award by NJACP. The award is given to the DSP who does above and beyond their call of duty.
Bertie’s retirement plans include a trip to Trinidad to visit family and enjoying time at home alongside his wife. Everyone at Eden is deeply grateful for his commitment to the individuals with autism, their families, and the entire Eden community.