Promoting independence and empowerment. Making a true impact.
Thank you for reading this special Impact Edition of the Messenger. In this issue you can learn how your generosity is making a difference in people’s lives, and how every day we are shaping and evolving the industry through creative thinking and innovation.
I can’t wait for you to see the numbers, as they demonstrate the depth and breadth of our nationwide mission. You’ll also see the faces behind the numbers. People like Chase, a young man with limited vision who, empowered by Bethesda, overcame his anxiety to present at the 2019 LCMS National Youth Gathering. Or Jen Steurer, an area director in Missouri who is putting assistive technology to work and watching people we support achieve more independence than they ever dreamed. And you’ll meet Donna Hedin, a retired nurse whose generosity has spanned decades, and continues today.
Looking to the future, we’re excited about a new initiative with tremendous potential impact – Bethesda Cornerstone Village. This will be an integrated Christian community living option in Victoria, Minnesota. Serving active people 55+ and independent adults with developmental disabilities, it will be a first of its kind in the U.S., and more of these communities will follow.
So much of our impact is possible because of our direct support professionals. In early September, we celebrated DSP Recognition Week and reflected on their kindness, commitment and dedication to the people we support. On behalf of all of Bethesda, I offer my thanks to all our DSPs. I am confident you join me in that feeling of gratitude.
We’re just getting started here. We have so much in store that I look forward to sharing with you in future issues. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the Messenger. Have a wonderful fall.
Mike Thirtle, PhD
President & CEO Bethesda
Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
– Galatians 6:2 NIV
Donor Spotlight: Donna Hedin adds to a lifetime of caring through her generosity
Donna Hedin knew at the tender age of 3 that she wanted to be a nurse when she grew up. And for an astounding 50 years, she did just that, caring for people of all ages at Children’s Minnesota Hospital in St. Paul. During her career, she personally helped the smallest and most vulnerable of babies.
Over the years, Donna observed how advances in technology gave more preemie babies than ever the chance to survive. Yet many go on to have special challenges, including intellectual and developmental disabilities that last a lifetime. While people with these disabilities may receive support as children, when they become adults they can be left to fend for themselves—and their needs can go unmet.
“I saw a lot of babies that would need the help of Bethesda,” said Donna. This is why Donna has chosen Bethesda as a place she has entrusted her charitable dollars.
It turns out Donna is not the only person in her family who has had a special place in her heart for Bethesda. “I was really close with my mom—she was
very important to me,” Donna shared. “I didn’t have any idea she liked Bethesda!”
And like Bethesda she did.
Lynora Hedin gave many gifts to her favorite charity, dating all the way back to 1975. “I’m really proud of my mom for doing that,” Donna said.
Today, in retirement, Donna continues that tradition of giving in honor of her mom, and is involved with Bethesda in many ways. Her gifts have helped many important projects and have enhanced the supports we provide. Donna has visited the Watertown campus, including the original chapel, as well as Camp Matz. Naturally, Donna also talks to her friends about Bethesda whenever she can.
Dennis Vanden Heuvel, development director for Bethesda, has known Donna for years and greatly appreciates her commitment to Bethesda. “Donna is so generous, but in the end she wants to know that her generosity has a purpose,” he said.
Through her ongoing engagement with Bethesda, Donna is adding to her 50 years of caring, and continuing to impact lives along the way. “Bethesda services aren’t going away because the needs aren’t going away,” she said.
Creating a place where
Construction has begun at Bethesda Cornerstone Village Victoria, an integrated Christian
community living option for active seniors and independent adults with developmental
disabilities, on the site of a previous Bethesda intermediate care facility in Victoria,
“Cornerstone Village will be a first of its kind in the U.S.,” said president and CEO Mike
Thirtle. “It will be a place where people of all abilities live, socialize and even worship
together. We could not be more excited about the potential Cornerstone Village has to
enhance the lives of people of Victoria.”
See how we’re changing the housing landscape
and expanding options for people with disabilities.
Grounded in his faith, Chase finds his voice
Chase is sitting at the front of a presentation hall in the
Minneapolis Convention Center. Hundreds of teenagers are streaming in, laughing and
chattering while they find seats.
Using advanced technology to advance independence
On average, it costs $5,000-$7,500 to outfit a Bethesda home with a suite of assistive
technologies. The suite could include anything from tablets and smart TVs to
medication dispensers, motorized blinds and more; each home is customized based
on the needs of the people who live there.