2019 So Far: Celebrations and New Faces
Thank you for taking a few moments from your day to read the latest
Messenger. Within these pages you will see inspiring stories about the
innovative ways we are expanding our mission and making a real difference for
more people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
One highlight I would like to share is our recent celebration of
National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. In a nationwide campaign,
we worked to “Connect All Abilities,” showing how far people with developmental
disabilities have come and how much still needs to be done to have truly
inclusive communities. We distributed thousands of blue #ConnectAllAbilities
wristbands, organized numerous events in schools and churches, made TV
appearances, spoke up at state Capitols, and really spread the word. I’m proud
of our team for leading the way during this recognition month, and we’re just
I am also excited to announce that we have hired a new VP of
Philanthropy, Lorene King. Lorene is a highly accomplished fundraising leader
with a strong Christian faith and a commitment to our mission. She will have a
large impact on our future.
In closing, I am always mindful that we can do so much, and in so many
ways, because of your generosity. It is your prayers for our mission and your
financial support that make everything possible. For all you do for us, I offer
you my sincere thanks, and our commitment to doing even more.
Please enjoy this edition of Messenger, and I
look forward to connecting with you again soon.
Thank you for taking time to read the latest edition of Messenger. In these pages you will learn about amazing work done in support of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in 2018. None of it, of course, would be possible without your support, your prayers and your encouragement. For all of this, I am extremely grateful.
Looking ahead to 2019, I am excited that we will be able to expand our mission to more people than ever before. We have many innovations in the works that are designed to promote independence and inclusion for people across the country.
We also have plans for new outreach into the communities we serve, including our congregations. I cannot wait for them to bear fruit and make a meaningful impact. Of course, we depend on you and all of our generous donors to help us grow. As you read about the progress we are making, I respectfully ask you to consider making a special donation today to empower people we support to achieve more. Leading the way as our field changes is what sets Bethesda apart. I hope you share in my excitement for what is to come.
Please accept my best wishes for a wonderful 2019!
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
Bethesda achieves milestone: 115 years of caring support
Much has changed over the last century, including
the way society treats people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Sadly, they were often written off as unwanted, and services didn’t exist to
empower people to reach their full potential.
That began to change on April 13, 1904, the day
Bethesda was founded in Watertown, Wisconsin. While we were once
institution-based, 115 years later we connect people with a variety of loving
home options, including Host Home or Shared Living programs. We actively engage
with businesses, helping people with disabilities gain job skills and
employment opportunities. Our Religious Life Team develops devotional and Bible
study materials and partners with congregations to welcome and include those
with disabilities. And, our Thrift Shops serve as a point of connection to our
While much has changed throughout the past century, our mission hasn’t. We are here to enhance the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities through services that share the good news of Jesus Christ. We will continue to find more ways to make a difference. Learn more about Bethesda’s history
Donor Spotlight: Roger Burtner: A man of his word
Roger Burtner is a man of many talents: Ivy League
education, senior research scientist for Chevron, adjunct professor at Case
Western Reserve University, consultant, entrepreneur, philanthropist.
But the California retiree is most noted as a caring
and giving person who is dedicated to his family and to Bethesda.
More About Roger
From Dreams to Opportunities: Bethesda Offers More
Judy Stoiber of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, struggled to get her son Paul to stay in bed. No matter how many times she and her husband took turns trekking back up the stairs with Paul to put him to bed, minutes later they would hear the drumming of his steps back downstairs to join them.
Confirmed in her faith, supported on her journey
When Kim Trombley, now Vice President of Bethesda’s Religious Life Team, asked a young woman supported by Bethesda named Alana if she was interested in attending church, Alana’s answer was surprising: “What is church?” Kim was serving as a Bethesda Ministry Consultant at the time, and one of her roles was to complete the Faith in Action Profile (now included in the new Faith in Action Workbook) that guides the faith supports for all people supported by Bethesda.
More About Faith Resources