Over the next several weeks, Rhode Island Catholic will feature profiles of the 15 winners in the 10 categories of the diocese’s 2016 Lumen Gentium Awards. The honorees will be awarded during a dinner at Twin River Event Center in Lincoln on Wednesday, May 18. Guests wishing to purchase tickets to the dinner — whose proceeds will benefit St. Martin de Porres Multi-Purpose Center and Fruit Hill Day Care for Seniors — are asked to register online at www.dioceseofprovidence.org/lumen-gentium-awards. For any questions about the event, please call 401-277-2121.
PROVIDENCE — For David Amaral, chairperson of the board of directors for Fruit Hill Day Services for Elderly and recipient of a Lumen Gentium Award in Administration and Stewardship, the inspiration to serve is rooted in the example of those who served him as a child.
“I was educated by Christian Brothers and Dominican fathers,” he said. “I looked toward their example.”
Fruit Hill Day Services, operated by the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary, has offered daytime care for the elderly since 1972. The center serves participants who require extra care due to Alzheimer’s, dementia or other medial concerns, offering families an alternative to full-time nursing home care.
Amaral, a parishioner of Blessed Sacrament Parish, Providence, joined the board of directors in 1991, when his late wife worked there as a nurse. He continues in the ministry 25 years later and presently serves on the committees for finance, nominating and fundraising. According to Sister Mary Motte, Amaral’s service has always reflected his commitment to the center’s mission to serve those in greatest need.
“David, first as a board member and now as chairperson of the board, witnesses and energizes the ministry at [Fruit Hill Day Services] as a humble follower of Jesus who always stands with vision and strength beside the poor in all their situations,” she said.
As chairperson of the board, Amaral ensures the facility’s presence is known in the community and assists with financial management. He strives to remain knowledgeable about the needs of participants and has been known to step in and serve in any capacity at events. One of the challenges, he said, was continuing to provide the greatest level of care as the growing demand for elder services changes public expectation and brings in clients with a variety of medical and social needs.
“The need of the participant is where the changes are,” he said. “You have to change your emphasis a little bit. Before it was all lunch and bingo. Now, you have a lot of different needs.”
Amaral looks to the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary as models of Christian service, following what he calls their “faith by example” to minister to the elderly and ailing. The sisters, in turn, appreciate his devotion to the center and his willingness to share his professional skills to support a much-needed service in the lives of the participants at Fruit Hill.
“He gives generously of his time, talent and treasure,” said Sister Motte. “David is a Gospel man, who walks in the footprints of the One who came among us in poverty and need.”