At age 13, Sean Ball was one of the first people to come to Gallagher Services when it opened in 1977. Today we support adults through community living, a medical day program, and supported employment and involvement in the larger community —all tailored to help each individual we serve to explore and achieve their own vision of a fulfilling life.
Sean Ball and Andy Marcantoni have a special way of talking. Since Sean is mostly nonverbal, he responds to his longtime friend with big nods, thumbs-ups, fist bumps and emphatic “yeahs!”
They first met when Andy was in high school at Loyola Blakefield, volunteering at Gallagher Services. Sean was a 20-year-old resident. As time went on, Andy got married, had three kids, and built a happy life. He’s also president of his family’s company, F&M Contracting.
Sean, who was intellectually disabled at birth, is the gourmet cook of his Gallagher-supported household, and makes sure the apartment is well maintained. The meticulousness he applies to everything from his clothing to his cooking is balanced by a fun-loving nature and a passion for the Orioles and Ravens.
About seven years ago, on a contracting job at Gallagher, Andy spotted Sean. He asked if Sean remembered him, and the two picked up where they had left off. Trips for ice cream—Sean’s favorite dessert, which he talks about by pretending to lick a scoop—became excursions with the whole Marcantoni family. Andy and Sean’s birthdays are a week apart, so they celebrate together every year. Towson’s Fourth of July Parade is another annual tradition.
Sean also works part-time at Andy’s company.
“We all look forward to the days when we’re going to get Sean,” Andy said. “When he’s with us, the cares of the day just drop away. You can be in the moment. We just have fun.”
But Sean also works hard, and his meticulousness serves him well. “When we’re at work, and I say hi, he lets me know, ‘I’ve got to get back to work, can’t talk now,’” Andy explained. “And he points out anything that’s wrong in our building. But I see the smile on his face when he sees me. He wears his heart on his sleeve.
“My relationship with Sean is as fulfilling and satisfying as any other friendship I have,” Andy said. “Even if he does like to cheat at bowling!”