Home is where the heart is

February 21, 2014 

I must respond to Missy Kichline and her letter "Stop using people as pawns." I will not comment on the cost of supporting the residents who live at Murray Developmental Center, as that figure is debatable, and not the purpose of my comment.

She writes she has never once met an individual who said he wanted to live in an institution. Then she hasn't talked to several individuals who have been moved from Murray in the past year. Weekly some of them call the staff at Murray asking, 'when can I come home," or "why can't I come home. I recently talked to a resident at Murray who, after five failed community placements, moved back to Murray. At all his placements he continually told the staff, "I want to go home."

What Kichline seems to not understand is that a home is not just a house but it is the love, care and concern we feel when we are in that house. Many of the staff at Murray have worked there for more than 20 years. They are the family of these residents. This is what a home is -- a place where one's needs are met in a loving, caring manner.

At this time, Murray Center is the only place that offers this for my severely disabled son, who only has me to be his voice. Also, it should be noted that Kichline is on the staff of Arc of Illinois, a group that has an economic interest in closing all state centers.

Rita Winkeler

Bartelso

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