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    Tradition informs work of Chicago emigrant

    By Noreen Bowden | November 22, 2007

    A heartwarming tale about an Irish immigrant in Chicago: Paddy Homan, a 32-year-old Cork-born tenor, uses his musical talents to cheer the elderly and disabled clients he visits in his day job as a social worker.

    “We all love him”, says 91-year-old Lilly Allen in the report, by Judith Graham in a recent issue of the Chicago Tribune.

    On Mr Homan’s visits to his clients, he not only checks to make sure that they are being adequately cared for by his colleagues at Wellspring Personal Care; this director of client care services uses his talents as a tenor and bodhran player to reach out to them in a different way. His colleagues praise his work:

    “I saw right away that he had what we look for in social work — the essence of everything we do — the ability to connect,” said Sheila McMackin, president of the home care agency where Homan now works as director of client services.

    Particularly for people with dementia or mental illness, “there’s very little sharing that goes on,” said Dr. Steven Fox, Wellspring’s medical director. “All that people will hear from professionals is ‘I have a plan for you.’ Not, ‘I’d like to spend time with you and learn more about you,’ the message Paddy gives.”

    The report also carries a video, in which Mr Homan describes how his work is informed by home tradition:

    Particularly in the wintertime, not many people call to people’s houses. Where I come from back home, there was a tradition of people calling to each other’s house . Now in some small way – even though I’m in a professional capacity – I somehow see it that I’m sort of carrying on that tradition as well.


    I’ve ways been singing, and where I come from back home there’s a great tradition of singing. But there’s something – music can reach beyond any barriers that one might have. You might think you’re going into a home to say hello, you might sing a song and you’re totally going down a different route. And that’s nice.

    Read the news article on the Chicago Tribune website.

    Watch the video on the Chicago Tribune website.

    Topics: elderly, Latest News, US | 1 Comment »

    One Response to “Tradition informs work of Chicago emigrant”

    1. Bob Lyons Says:
      November 22nd, 2007 at 4:34 pm

      The Chicago Tribune story on PADDY HOMAN and his use of traditional Irish music working with elders in Chicago is excellent. His social work and singing combine in a mission of service to the elderly Irish (and others) in Chicago. Paddy is a good ambassador for Ireland and for Cork. Thanks for your story. Check out his website: for more of his excellent singing with video clips of live performance recently at Irish American Heritage Center in Chicago. Keep up your good work.