Today we said our final goodbyes to one of the founding matriarchs of the organization that I have been given the opportunity to lead for the past 15 years. She was a pioneer and a survivor. She had to be. She buried three children as infants, raised five more, told stories of all the antics and laughed about it. She worked hard, told it like she saw it, carried a big stick and above all valued her family more than anything. She reaped the rewards of living that life. Her children, grandchild and great grand children provided testimony to those facts today.
Because of the pioneers like her, 2013 is the 40th year of our organization providing community based residential and vocational supports for adults who experience life with different physical and cognitive abilities than you and I. We exist today; because a group of determined, dedicated parents heard what their children were saying 40 plus years ago. They wanted to remain in the community that they knew, where their friends and their family were.
The quest to keep these services available in small communities continued for those parents, making a commitment to serve on the board, knowing it was a lifetime commitment, serving, because of the love that they have for their children. Wanting for them what they wanted for themselves. Watching the ups and downs of people walking in and out of their children’s lives. Holding on for dear life as the service system changes rolled in.
We will quietly celebrate 40 years and thank those pioneers who had the vision and blazed the trail so their children and many others to come could live a life in a community that they chose.
For those pioneers that continue to blaze new trails, wagons west. There are still people waiting to live a life of their choosing.