To make the world a better place is an admirable goal for anyone, but perhaps it is also one of the best statements that can be used to describe Colleen McClorey and her enduring memory.
Ask any of McClorey’s family, friends, or fellow classmates and they will tell you that she was the kind of person who always had a smile on her face, cared about those around her, and had a strong dedication to help those with special needs.
Colleen McClorey graduated from the Mount in 1981 with a bachelor’s degree in elementary and special education; both strong, passionate areas of interest for her. During her time at the Mount, McClorey was very active in the community. She was part of the Student Council for Exceptional Children and also volunteered many hours of service at Stepping Stones in Indian Hill, an organization dedicated to helping those with special needs live every day, regular lives.
While volunteering at Stepping Stones, McClorey encouraged several of her classmates to also donate their time to the organization. Jeanne Pahls, a 1981 alum and friend of McClorey’s, recalls volunteering with her.
“Several of us would meet at the Mount,” Pahls says, “and then we would all head over to Stepping Stones.”
During her time at Stepping Stones, McClorey spent a lot of time assisting with disabled toddlers.
Perhaps what truly makes Colleen McClorey’s service remarkable is that while she helped many individuals with their needs, she was also struggling to overcome her own personal adversity. McClorey was born with spina bifida, a developmental congenital disorder, and it had severely limited her mobility throughout the years.
Despite the physical confinement that her condition imposed on her, Colleen McClorey never let it slow her down in serving others and achieving her goals.
McClorey went on to receive her master’s in rehabilitation from the Virginia Commonwealth University and became an elementary school teacher before working for the State of Ohio Rehabilitation Services Commission for twenty years. While working at the Commission, she continued to exhibit her spirit of service to the community that she had displayed at the Mount by helping many other individuals with disabilities enter or reenter the workplace.
“Colleen was very smart and an excellent counselor,” says Jonal Manker, a co-worker who worked with Colleen at the Commission for much of her twenty years there. “She had a lot of obstacles to overcome and she was a good example to others with disabilities.”
Colleen McClorey passed away in March 2014, but to all who knew her, her memory of inspiration lives on. McClorey was the type of person who lived the Mount’s mission statement every day of her life. She emphasized and displayed values, integrity, and especially social responsibility with her service to those with disabilities. Many who knew her say that she was an inspiration to them. Without a doubt, her story and her memory will not only inspire, but also be a shining example, to countless others to come.