New MERIL director hopes to prove organization’s importance
After having three interim directors over the past several months, MERIL (the Midland Empire Resource for Independent Living) finally has a new executive director.
Rob Honan, who previously served as executive director of the Missouri Governor’s Council on Disability, replaces J.C. Dollar, MERIL’s former executive director.
Honan, who also is a Kansas City, Missouri, native, said he was excited to take over the position.
“This is a great organization. MERIL, the centers for independent living, do a wonderful thing for a lot of people with disabilities but also the community benefits as well because when you have people with disabilities living in their own homes, the community is better off,” he said.
Honan, who also has a hearing disability, said he hopes to get the state and federal legislators to understand the importance of centers like MERIL. The agency serves more than 5,000 people a year through a variety of disability services.
“Right now, we’ve got a very interesting political climate going on in Jefferson City, as well as in Washington, D.C., so there is a lot of education there with our legislators both on the federal and state level to make sure they understand the need of people with disabilities,” Honan said.
Deann Young, MERIL’s chief human resource officer, said one of the great things about working with MERIL is that we are a small family and they feel blessed that Honan has joined the staff.
“He has a great deal of experience with the governor’s council on disabilities. He himself has a disability so he understands that part of it. He also helps people advocate for themselves,” she said.
Former Director of Governor’s Council on Disability is new CEO at MERIL
March 10, 2017 – Press Release from MERIL
St. Joseph, MO – Rob Honan is the new chief executive officer at Midland Empire Resources for Independent Living (MERIL), a not-for-profit organization that provides resources to people with disabilities and those who are aging in Northwest Missouri.
Honan twice served as the executive director for the Missouri Governor’s Council on Disability, a state council that promotes inclusion for Missourians with disabilities. Honan said he wants to use that experience to strengthen MERIL’s role as an advocate for disability rights.
“It is important for MERIL to be involved in discussions about public policy issues that affect people with disabilities,” Honan said. “As an organization, MERIL encourages lawmakers to support legislation that benefits people with disabilities, and we encourage people with disabilities to learn about the issues that affect them and to advocate for themselves.”
Honan has been involved with the disability community throughout his life, and he has been a participant, a board member, and an executive director at centers for independent living. Centers for independent living, such as MERIL, assist people with disabilities so they can live safely in their homes and participate in their communities.
“The independent living philosophy includes the idea that people with disabilities should have control over their own lives,” Honan said. “This is what MERIL helps people do, and I’m looking forward to continuing that service with the disability community here in Northwest Missouri.”
MERIL offers a variety of services for people with disabilities and those who are aging, including assistance with personal care attendants, in-home nursing, home health, assistive technology, sign-language interpreting, youth transition, information and referral services, and community education and advocacy.
More information about MERIL and its resources is available on www.meril.org and at 816-279-8558.