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Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month: Spotlight on Merv Sanchez Diaz

Hispanic Heritage Month is the perfect time to highlight our diverse workforce and the contributions made by our dedicated employees.

We are very pleased to introduce Merv Sanchez Diaz, who has been a valued DDI team member since 1986. He began his career with a part-time driving position and in 1990, he was transferred into the office as a dispatcher. He enjoyed working with the individuals so much that he decided to take a full-time position at DDI. He got his commercial driver’s license in 1992 and shortly after became certified as an Article 19A Examiner, which allows him to certify DDI drivers to drive a school bus. He also went on to become a certified Empire Safety Council defensive driving course teacher for DDI and over the years, has become a SCIP instructor, First Aid instructor and a CPR instructor.

He is now the Assistant Director of DDI’s Transportation Services. “I don’t get to work with the individual as much as I used to, but I still enjoy what I do. I have enjoyed my time here at DDI and consider the staff here as part of my extended family,” commented Sanchez Diaz.

He always makes himself available to help families who do not speak English. Whenever there are parent meetings or a parent needs to be notified by telephone, he assists by translating information into Spanish to ensure the proper communication between staff and families.

Both of his parents were born in Puerto Rico. Herminio Sanchez Marin (father) was born in Utuado, Puerto Rico. At age 18, he joined the United States Air Force and moved from Puerto Rico to Michigan. Shortly after that, he moved to Long Island, New York where he met Sanchez Diaz’ mother, Merida Rosa Diaz Cruz, also born in Utuado, Puerto Rico.

Merv and his family(Sanchez Diaz with his youngest son and father / Sanchez Diaz' mother)

Sanchez Diaz was born in Patchogue, New York, and grew up in a household where Spanish was the only language that was spoken. He learned English at the age of four when he went to school. He attended Patchogue Medford School and attended SUNY Brockport for two years. In 1984, he moved back to Long Island and attended Suffolk County Community College for another year and a half.

Children (grandchildren)(Sanchez-Diaz' grandchildren)

“The most important thing to me is my family. I have four children, three grandsons, one granddaughter and another granddaughter on the way,” Sanchez Diaz said. His children have grown up around DDI. His oldest son worked for Adult Day Services for a few years and is now seeking a career in law enforcement. His oldest daughter worked for the Early Childhood Services Program in Ronkonkoma and is now working in the nursing field. His youngest daughter just graduated from Adelphi University with her Master's in social work. Finally, his youngest son is a junior in high school. “I am very proud of all of my children.  My children and my grandchildren are my life, and I enjoy spending as much time as I can with them,” Sanchez shared.

We are so thankful to have him as part of the DDI family and are grateful for his continued service to the people we support and their families.

To read more about Hispanic Heritage Month, visit:

https://www.history.com/topics/hispanic-history/hispanic-heritage-month

https://www.hispanicheritagemonth.gov/about/

https://www.state.gov/hispanic-heritage-month-2020/

https://www.census.gov/newsroom/facts-for-features/2020/hispanic-heritage-month.html