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Heartland Homes celebrates 30th anniversary

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In 1964 Lora Dudley got in a car accident where she suffered brain injuries that affected her physical abilities to live life on her own.

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In 1996, and until today, she found the home where she has been able to receive the help she needed with day-to-day life activities and more.

Heartland Homes, a non-profit organization that provides residential services to persons with disabilities, celebrates its 30th anniversary with a fundraiser dinner Saturday.

The organization was established in 1978 with one house and eight clients.

Today, there are six homes in Park Rapids, housing 23 clients.

The number of clients Heartland Homes provides services for outside of the homes is 34; most of them are school age children or older clients who live on their own.

Heartland Homes' services vary from assisting clients with community involvement and going to church, to balancing checkbooks and doctors' appointments.

"It's their home, we just help them live," said program coordinator Bill Simpson.

He added that when it comes to entertainment activities, whatever the client is interested in, the staff of Heartland Homes can provide.

Clients have gone on horseback riding trips, baseball games, Panther football games and movie theaters.

When house activities, Dudley and her housemates have a cooking schedule where each plans their meals accordingly.

Several clients are employed by the Hubbard County Developmental Achievement Center (DAC), arriving home around 2:30 p.m. every day, looking forward to enjoying the activities planned for the day.

Heartland Homes employs 63 staff members, most on a part-time basis, and is hoping to increase that number in order to accommodate the increasing number of clients.

"It's a tough job because you're dealing with peoples' lives. Not everyone can do the work," Simpson said.

Therefore, compassionate, caring and willing to help others are the values Heartland Homes looks in its employees.

At the dinner to be held from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 6 at the Park Rapids American Legion Club, the organization's goal is to raise $5,000 to improve services by increasing activities, maintenance of the residence and transportation needs.

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