Light Show Lights up Leroy

Is there a musical artist or group that you absolutely L-O-V-E above all others? You stop everything when you hear them. 

For Leroy Henry, a person Bethesda supports in Dumont, New Jersey, his favorite artist is the King of Pop, Michael Jackson. 

Leroy’s love for the late pop star is far from hidden in his group home, says Bethesda Direct Support Professional (DSP) Telfin Williams. 

Staff and the people we support there can frequently hear Michael Jackson’s music coming from Leroy’s room and see posters Leroy has hung on his bedroom walls of Jackson.  

“When he hears Michael Jackson, he’ll start snapping his fingers, and he’ll try to get everybody involved,” he says. “He’ll pull staff into the room. He’ll point to the radio. He’ll let us know that’s a Michael Jackson song playing.” 

Last year, Leroy was thrilled when staff organized a trip for him to see a Michael Jackson-themed laser light show at the Bergen Performing Arts Center featuring a performance by a one-gloved, moonwalking impersonator. 

Telfin accompanied Leroy to the show. 

Most people at the show just sat in their seats, and Leroy spent most of his time in the aisle, dancing from side to side amidst a rainbow of lights and booming music, with an enormous smile on his face. 

“He was blown away by it,” Telfin says.  

The idea to attend the light show began during a staff meeting at the home to brainstorm potential activities for the men who live there, explains Linda Brinkman, Bethesda’s Northeast Region area director. 

Once they learned the light show was occurring in a neighboring town, they moved forward with making the experience a reality for Leroy. 

For Telfin, it was a great opportunity to spend one-on-one time with Leroy, which he says is beneficial for DSPs because they can get to know the people they support better. 

After the event, it’s music that’s on Leroy’s mind once again. 

“He gets something to drink and jets straight to his radio,” Telfin says. “If he wants to play it loud, he’ll close the door and turn the volume all the way up. Sometimes we have to ask him to turn it down.” 

But no one holds a grudge about Leroy’s music-blasting ways, Telfin says. 

“If the house were a body, Leroy would be the heartbeat,” he says. “Everybody loves Leroy.” 





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