Tribute: Kevin Sullivan’s vision shaped In Home Personal Care

In the natural cycle of life and the inevitable sons and daughters bury their parents. And while their grief is profound, it is tempered by a life lived long. Sadly, life does not flow evenly, for when Kevin Sullivan suddenly passed away on June 14, the circle was broken and family and friends were shocked and in disbelief.

The waves of shock that ripple through Sullivan’s orbit of family, friends and associates are still being felt today.

And though his body was laid to rest on June 18, his dream—the business In Home Personal Care—will live on.

The inspiration for Sullivan’s dream was born of tragedy and necessity.In 1984, he was a flight instructor on spring break in Fort Lauderdale. He and some buddies sprinted into the ocean and plunged headlong into the cresting waves, frolicking with a vacationer’s abandon. In that moment, his life changed forever. Sullivan broke his neck, suffering permanent paralysis, and floated limply to the surface.

In little over a year, following a rehabilitation stint at Courage Center, he was back behind the wheel of a car. Then he enrolled at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks. His education propelled him into the workforce. Soon after that he was back in his plane.

But the paralysis negated his ability to live independently, forcing him to rely upon the assistance of others. And that’s when problems ensued.

On Sullivan’s web site it states, “I couldn’t find reliable, well-trained personal care assistants to help with daily tasks and my care. I realized others faced the same issues, so I decided to start a company to provide the quality, and reliable, care that everyone deserves.”

So he put his business acumen into practice and launched his dream in July 1991 when he established In Home Personal Care. The vision was clear: provide quality care for a clientele struggling to remain independent while facing numerous, and often profound, medical challenges.

In Home services more than one hundred clients with over three hundred PCAs employed. I have been a satisfied client for nearly a decade. Because I was raised in the home of a small business owner (my father was an electrical contractor) I realize satisfied customers are the reason dedicated owners and committed employees go to work each day. I’m not sure I could run a business and that’s what I admire about Sullivan, he did, and he did it successfully.

Lyn Lyon has been the office manager at In Home since 2000. When asked to reflect on her boss’s managerial style she said, “Kevin was generous, kind and curious. He always had a smile and he loved to solve issues. He could come up with some zany ideas but once we worked them through they turned out to help solve the problem. He was always willing to talk to the clients or PCAs and when we attended events outside the office he made sure he talked to everyone he knew. His is the face of In Home.”

It wasn’t all work and no play for Sullivan. He enjoyed season tickets to the Minnesota Twins.

Every summer he helped organized a picnic for In Home clients and employees. He enrolled In Home in the 2011 Deli Express 5K Your Way fundraiser being held in August. Likewise, Kevin was a friend to Access Press. He purchased advertising space and donated funds as a sponsor. His wife Kathy survives him, as do his parents Denny and Laura Sullivan who live in Golden Valley, two brothers Murray and Brent, and sister Erin.

Lyon summed it up this way, “We miss him every day but he was a businessman and he made sure that the company would continue to run whether he was here in-house or not. We are very fortunate to have known him and to have the opportunity to keep his dream alive.” Though he has passed, the In Home staff and PCAs intend to up hold the standard of care Sullivan set forth.

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