You might recognize one of the new members of the Home and Community Options’ Board of Directors as Alfred P. Doolittle from HCO’s most recent (2019) musical production, My Fair Lady. However, he isn’t really a cockney lay-about who sings and dances. He is Mike Hagarty, and he is known by many in our community for his past work supporting students as a career counselor at Saint Mary’s of Minnesota. He is now a 10th grade religion teacher at Cotter Schools, as well as a member of the campus ministry team.

When Mike and his family came to Winona, they knew very few people in town. He saw an announcement for auditions for a summer musical and thought that would be a great way to meet people in the community. Like nearly everyone who has ever been introduced to HCO musicals, he loved it. He says, “Fiddler on the Roof became my introduction to HCO and the wonderful people associated with HCO and its staff, volunteers, individuals, especially those involved with the musicals. Having the privilege of being a part of the plays is a highlight of my year.”

He has since become passionate about HCO’s mission, as well as their musicals. “The more you get to know people through HCO, the more you love this organization. Its mission is inspiring and is carried out in incredible ways day after day.” He notes that individuals with disabilities are often an overlooked segment of the community. However, he says, “HCO is dedicated to helping their individuals live as independently as they can for as long as they can and to incorporate them into the wider community in levels and ways appropriate for them.  I love seeing HCO people throughout town – at the grocery store, church, and all sorts of other events in town throughout the year.” He has a great deal of admiration for HCO staff, and says, “Thank you for using your love, patience, diligence, and all your other superpowers to serve the needs of our friends in HCO.”

Mike is originally from North Carolina and has a long career in nonprofit work, including as a teacher, youth minister, writer, program director, trainer, and certified professional coach. He is married and has a young adult child.