Murray Center Advocates Hold Fundraiser In Albers
On Friday, September 5, 2014, Murray Center Supporters gathered in Albers, Illinois to show support for the Warren G. Murray Developmental Center. Although a thunderstorm moved in and forced the cancellation of one of the music acts, the supporters stuck it out and the event carried on into the night. Although the evening was not as successful as the FFMC (Friends for Murray Center) and MPA (Murray Parents Association) had hoped, both groups were able to have a profitable evening and earn some money that will be used towards the continued legal fight. The MPA concession stand was busy throughout the night as the majority of people who had come early stayed and the party continued past midnight.
The Avery Hill Band was able to complete their concert when the rainstorm started. The Beaucoup Bottom Band was unable to play due to the continuing storm and the threat of damage to their equipment from the lightning. The Beaucoup Bottom Band offered their services for another fundraiser sometime in the future.
Rita Winkeler, president of the MPA invited Illinois State Representative Charlie Meier, attorney Judith Sherwin from the Taft & Associates Law Firm in Chicago, attorney Wiley Blair of the Clinton County state case to the stage along with other members of the FFMC and MPA.
Attorney Judy Sherwin spoke to the crowd regarding the appeal of the Judge’s ruling and commented on the determination and support the community has shown for the residents of Murray Center.
Victor Young, an employee of Murray Center then spoke about the impact of working at Murray Center, how it has changed his life, and how he wishes to dedicate his life to working with the residents of Murray Center. He then asked Representative Meier to come forward and he presented him with a plaque that said, “The Friends for Murray Center wish to express our heartfelt thanks to you in recognition of your extraordinary efforts to save Murray Center. Your compassionate commitment and dedication on behalf of the residents of Warren G. Murray Developmental Center is greatly appreciated. Presented by the Friends for Murray Center August 2014.”
Among the many supporters, the MPA and FFMC want to thank the community of Albers, the Albers Jaycees, and Mayor Steve Schomaker for their hard work in sponsoring this fundraiser.
On Saturday, September 6, 2014, at the Calumet Street Church in Centralia Attorney Judy Sherwin also met with a group of people from the MPA and FFMC. Sherwin spoke about the status of the federal lawsuit and answered questions from the audience. Rita and Kevin Burke representing IL-ADD (Illinois Advocated for the Developmentally Disabled) also attended the meeting and presented the MPA and FFMC with an award for their efforts in working to keep Murray Center open.
Rita Winkeler was presented with a Front Line Award that says, ‘To Rita Winkeler, MPA and FFMC. In the struggle to preserve the rights of all our loved ones. With admiration and appreciation. IL-ADD 2014’.”
Developmentally Disabled) also attended the meeting and presented the MPA and FFMC with an award for their efforts in working to keep Murray Center open. In Rita Burke’s presentation she said the following,
“I am Rita Burke, President of IL-ADD, an organization whose members include the presidents and other key people from all seven of our State Operated Developmental Centers and a partner plaintiff, with the Murray Parent Association and individual plaintiffs, like Liz Gersbacher who is with us today, in our lawsuit to protect rights and ensure the safety of the fragile people who need the level of care provided in centers like Murray.
“As you all appreciate, the plan to close Murray is part of a much bigger plan to deny access to ‘institutional’ care for those who desperately need that level of care. Murray was the immediate target but a target that shot back and is still shooting. Families and guardians from the other centers are in awe at the commitment and courage of the Murray people who so capably are fighting for all of us on the Front Line.
“I believe that at great moments in history, Providence selects special persons who can rise to meet the needs of their people. This is a great moment, a pivotal moment, where the future of care for the most severely disabled will be decided and great people have risen to the task, our own IL-ADD Board Member Rita Winkeler, the Murray Parent Association, and the Friends for Murray Center, Representative Charlie Meier, and our beloved attorney Judith Sherwin.
“Today, on behalf of IL-ADD, all the families, guardians who are with us in spirit today, I have the great privilege of presenting our expression of our gratitude, admiration and solidarity.
“Together we will save Murray Center and our other Centers and save the future for all our loved ones. To Rita Winkeler I present this Front Line Award, that says,
‘To Rita Winkeler, MPA and FFMC. In the struggle to preserve the rights of all our loved ones. With admiration and appreciation. IL-ADD 2014′”