Darcy has lived in Lake City, MN all of her life. She went to school at Lincoln High School and began working after graduation. Darcy chose to live independently in her own apartment in Lake City soon after beginning to work. Darcy was encouraged by her family to have choice and control over her life. She was supported in her decisions to work and live independently by her family, support staff of Great River Homes, Inc. and staff at her worksite in Red Wing. Everyone uses supports to make decisions and individuals living with intellectual and developmental disabilities need supports to make choices in their lives just like everyone else.
Darcy and the people who support her help her make both large and small decisions about her life. Darcy chose to take care of her health by learning about her conditions and the medications that help her manage her health. This was a large decision for Darcy who now is able to package her daily medications and take them in the correct doses at the correct time. Darcy also discovered that she enjoys giving back to her community by sharing her time and talents with the residents of the Lake City Care Center. Darcy states that the people there make me so happy. She feels valued and accepted there. Darcy’s family and support providers supported and encouraged her decision to try volunteering and she loves it!
Like everyone, Darcy has not always made the best decisions for herself, but each time has learned from those mistakes. Her family and support providers respect Darcy’s right to make decisions for herself even if they don’t always agree with them. Darcy is empowered to live the life she chooses for herself by making informed choices and decisions.
Chuck Elias had a special birthday on February 17, 2018. It was not only special because it was his 30th birthday. It was also special because Patrol Officer Paul Kruger, of the Wabasha Police Department stopped by to wish Chuck Happy Birthday.
Chuck has a brain injury he sustained from a car accident when he was 13 years old. Chuck receives residential services from Great River Homes, Inc. in Wabasha, MN. Chuck is unable to communicate with words, but is able to express his feelings with facial expressions and in other ways.
Chuck enjoys watching COPS on television. Bridget DeFrang, Program Supervisor thought Chuck would like to have a real “cop” visit him on his birthday. Bridget called Police Chief Joe Stark and asked if a police officer could stop by Chuck’s home on his birthday. Patrol Officer Paul Kruger responded. Paul was in his full uniform and showed Chuck his police car with the flashing lights on. Chuck was grinning ear-to-ear and very excited throughout the visit.
Paul Kruger and Joe Stark of the Wabasha Police Department are to be commended for making Chuck’s birthday special and understanding how important it is to serve our community with compassion.
March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. This years theme is “See Me for Me” which means looking beyond someone’s disability and seeing the person. Officer Paul Kruger did look beyond Chuck’s disability when he made a personal connection with Chuck on his birthday.
Chuck Elias is pictured above with Officer Paul Kruger of the Wabasha Police Department on Chuck’s birthday. Paul Kruger took time out of his busy schedule and gave Chuck the gift of his time, the best gift of all.