I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! As I look back on my 28 years with NER I have so much to be thankful for and I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you for all your support throughout the years. I remember starting at the Respite-Care Program as a direct-care staff just three mornings a week because I wanted to do something I felt was important. Shortly thereafter I was asked to supervise that very special program that will always be close to my heart. I feel so very strong about the need to support families who have their children at home and the need for respite, not just for parents, but for their child and siblings who need a break from them also. But just as important NER’s Respite-Care Program serves as the transition program that it truly is. A transition that helps both parent and child learn to live apart from one another when that time comes for whatever reason that might be.
When asked to leave the Respite-Care Program to serve as the Administrator I felt totally inadequate, but with the support of a wonderful Board of Directors and an amazingly dedicated staff we all worked together to bring a struggling NER from two programs with just 35 employees to what it is today, a sound organization with 28 programs employing about 340 people.
In addition to the people mentioned above, we also have many of the families we serve in long-term care today because they drove the future of NER and the Board responded. And when they said they needed after school or after day-program care for their loved ones, the Board again responded. But it took a lot of help from others to make their dreams come true. So today, I also want to thank each parent, ACR Homes for mentoring me and NER when we first began to expand in 1994, and the countless individuals, businesses, foundations, and civic organizations for their endless support. I would be remiss if I did not especially thank Bremer Bank for the many different ways they have supported NER financially. And of course the many different sponsors of our special fundraising events have been invaluable. None of what NER has accomplished over the years would have been possible without all of you and your support.
Finally, I want to thank the NER Board of Directors for the wonderful retirement celebration in my honor on November 16th. To see so many people attend and to receive so many cards from so many people was truly humbling. But please always know that each of you has played a huge role in NER’s success and for that the entire organization has much to be thankful for. May you all have a blessed and happy holiday season.
And may you also look to the future of NER with great excitement knowing that many of the same people remain with NER who have worked diligently with me to get us where we are today, and in knowing that they are VERY confident with the new leadership in Shari as the Program Director and Heidi as the Executive Director. Together they will serve everyone well at NER as we move into a new and bright and successful future.
Corrine Schmidt, Executive Director