This is in response to a letter in which Siclari made some negative comments about Progress House.
Sir, as an employee of New York State working at Progress House, I feel I should inform you that if it were not for this fine establishment, I would not be where I am at today. I suffer from nervousness, an emotional problem and clinical depression. I am also a recovering alcoholic. During my 13 years on disability due to my maladies plus taking medications to aid me in my wellness, I went to Nassau Community College to earn an associate's degree in liberal arts. This I have done while working at the Progress House Vocational Rehab program. After Nassau, I went on to earn my bachelor's of theology degree at Molloy College. I am presently working on my master's of divinity degree at the New York Theological Seminary.
On Sept. 2, 2004, I became a staff member of Progress House. They were looking for a housekeeper, and being as I was with them for seven years, I jumped at the opportunity to apply for the job. Needless to say, I got the job. As you can ascertain from my brief dossier, not all mental patients are as dangerous as you believe we are. In fact, if you were to meet me on the street, you would never know (unless I have told you) that I suffer from a mental illness. I have visited your library on numerous occasions as well as many of the other fine establishments within the area of the old PC Richard's building. Not one individual who has encountered me knew I was suffering from the ailments I have described.
You have stated that Progress House does not have to expand in Levittown. Why? Are you afraid that we might pollute your breathing space? Do you feel we might become an uncontrollable army of misfits bent on destroying what quality of life you cherish? Give me a break! I can say one thing: the folks at the St. Bernard's Parish took the time to visit us and found out what we were all about. They realized that we are not the dangerous psychopaths, shoplifters or panhandlers you have drawn us to be. You sir, have not taken the time to see the whole picture. In fact, you are probably going on the hearsay of others. If you had stepped into Progress House yourself, you, too, would have found out that we are not the people you should be afraid of. I would worry about some of the other problems plaguing our world today.
I, too, can state that all politicians are crooks and liars. I can also state that all priests molest children. But are the two statements true? No. You cannot take one bad apple or a couple of bad apples, and state that the whole basket is bad. Another thing, my friends here in Wantagh, Levittown, Massapequa, and all of the other towns on Long Island are very happy that I have come a long way. I have earned their trust because I went out of my way to do something about my situation. I did not sit around my home and say "woe is me." In fact, I have stated to my father 13 years ago, that just because I will be collecting my disability check each month does not mean I will sit around and wait for it. I have a life to live and a lot more living to do.
Sir, I am sorry you feel the way you do about Progress House, and I don't believe that this letter is going to change your mind on the matter, but I will state this: not everything you see is as it seems.
And so, may God bless you for being you.
Donald Lee Warner