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Meet Tony

David Amico is a guardian for Tony Mercedes, but when he talks about him, it is clear there is a bond well beyond the legalities of the situation.

“He’s got a wonderful nature about him. When he wants to, he can light up a room with his belly laugh,” said Amico, as he describes the 23 year old resident of St. Margaret’s Center. “He’s a person who can bring pure joy.”

Amico, who is now the Director of the Office of Ministry Formation for the
Albany Roman Catholic Diocese, has long been an advocate and activist bringing religious education to people with disabilities.

His parish church, St. James, had formed a bond with St. Margaret’s.
School age children visited the residents and performed concerts. An annual Valentine’s Day project created a giving tree for residents, decorated with socks, hair ties, barrettes, and gift cards to be used by visiting family members for fuel or food.

“This promotes a relationship of inclusion and understanding for a population often forgotten,” explained Amico. When approached to be a guardian, he agreed.

“Tony’s needs are severe,” acknowledged Amico, as he described a time last year when Mercedes was hospitalized for pneumonia. Upon his recovery and return to St. Margaret’s, Amico noticed something amazing. “He was laughing and going all along the sides of the bed with his hands. Don’t tell me he doesn’t know he’s home.”

Amico’s parents are known as Grandma and Grandpa to Mercedes. They visit weekly and send cards. For their recent 50th wedding anniversary celebration, Tony Mercedes “hosted” a special luncheon at St. Margaret’s for them. “He’s a great part of our lives. He gives so much,” said Amico.

St. Margaret's handprint

St. Margaret's Center

27 Hackett Boulevard • Albany, New York 12208
Nursing Facility: 518-591-3300