Sunday, July 29, 2001

A legacy of two families

By Gene Franzen
Enquirer Contributor

        FORT MITCHELL — How did Northern Kentucky's wonderful rehabilitation center “Redwood” acquire its name? The school was named in honor of Bill and Sue Reder and Al and Dorothy Wood.

        In 1951, the Reders and the Woods, both parents of children with disabilities, began developing a program to assist other families. The first class of four children started in a basement room in St. Benedict Church.

[photo] Redwood Rehabilitation Services got its name from the Reder and Wood families, who started it all.
(Patrick Reddy photo)
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        By 1955 enrollment had grown to 26 and the school moved to larger quarters at St. AugustineChurch.

        A women's guild was formed to promote awareness, generate funding and organize volunteers. A building fund was started.

        In 1958, the school purchased a building in Latonia and christened it “Redwood.”

        In 1967, a new facility that would accept more students with a wider range of developmental disabilities was built on Orphanage Road.

        By 1974, Redwood was again bulging at the seams. The community responded with $500,000 in private pledges, matched by a federal Hill-Burton grant.

        Today Redwood provides more than 20 educational, therapeutic and vocational programs for more than 600 individuals. Redwood's philosophy is that “every person, regardless of his or her disadvantages, has the ability to grow and develop.”

        Now and Then appears Sundays in The Kentucky Enquirer. Call 578-5555.

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