Tuesday, October 17, 2000

Agency rallies support for levy

Butler board offers services to the disabled

By David Eck
Enquirer Contributor

        FAIRFIELD TWP. — In front yards and farm fields across Butler County, the little yellow signs popped up in the last couple of weeks.

        They're round, small and don't look at all like typical campaign signs. But in bold, black print, they urge voters next month to support a 2-mill replacement tax levy for the Butler County Board of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities (MRDD).

        Levy organizers and MRDD clients on Monday met with the media to discuss the levy.

        At Liberty Center, an adult care facility for clients with complex mental and physical disabilities, caregiv ers sometimes have trouble maneuvering clients' wheelchairs because of a lack of space. Liberty Center, on Liberty-Fairfield Road, handles 120 clients daily.

        “We have 2,500 individuals and their families who see us as their greatest hope for a better life for someone with mental retardation and developmental disabilities,” said campaign chairman Gary Blevins, who has a daughter with autism and mental retardation. “You have only to talk to these families to know how much they depend on us, not only for services but also for support.”

        The Hampls of West Chester are one such family. Diane and Neal Hampl's daughter, Colleen, was born with Down syndrome in 1994.

        Colleen, with long brown hair, a bright smile and glasses, will be featured on campaign billboards.

        MRDD “is a tremendous source of support to our family,” Mrs. Hampl said. “They really inspired us to believe in our child.” '

        Colleen, who is in kindergarten at Lakota Early Childhood Center, can read and takes ballet. She plays with her older brother and sister.

        “We treat her as we would any child of ours,” Mrs. Hampl said. “She learns just like anyone else. She's surprised us 100 percent over in the things she's been able to do.”


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