On Friday, January 20, the community celebrated the retirement of Tillamook’s Marie Mills Center Director Ron Rush with a luncheon at the center with family, clients, friends, staff and community partners.
Ron joined 43 years ago and started working straight out of college. She was thinking of staying for a year, saving money and going to graduate school. He didn’t realize it then, he found his vocation.
Forty-three years later, he passes the baton to Cindy Green, who has been with the organization for 36 years and is now Assistant Director.
“I’m overwhelmed. I never thought this day would come,” Rush said in a speech to a group at a retirement celebration. will be family, we are family here at Marie Mills and we will miss it.”
During Ron’s first year with the group, he met and married his wife, Paulette, and helped advance Marie Mills’ service and footprint in the community.
“When I started, I promised myself a year,” Rush joked. “When I was younger, I wanted to see the world. So some of the best isn’t through change, but what you love more becomes your change.”
Ron credits Marie Mills’ success with many people over the years, especially founders like Helen Shecky Benscheidt, who was also present at Rush’s celebrations, and members of his board of directors over the years. , staff and donors.
“There’s something special here in Tillamook,” Rush said. “It takes a village to raise a child and we have so many great community partners who have helped us along the way. I am so grateful for those partnerships. I am so overwhelmed and proud of what we have become.”
Cindy Green, who will replace Ron as Marie Mills’ executive director, began a series of speeches before Rush said his goodbyes.
“Thank you for coming out to support Ron,” Green told the audience. “Forty-three years is a long time. He defined our purpose. increase.”
Linda Walker, president of Mary Mills, said, “Ron, it’s amazing how much time you’ve spent here.” “You survived the hard times. Not only did Marie Mills survive under Ron’s leadership, she made it through.”
Marie Mills was started in 1969 at a port facility in Tillamook Bay by parents and others who wanted to create meaningful opportunities for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Tillamook County.
Through this “grassroots” effort, they became one of the first species in Oregon.
Marie Mills started by offering only vocational services. By 1978 they also began offering residential services to individuals with intellectual disabilities.
Marie Mills was the daughter of Lewis Hunt Mills and Barbara Shecky Mills. Marie, a very special person who was born with a disability, died in 1962 when she was just 13 years old. Her Marie’s family encouraged, taught and supported her to live a full life despite her disability. She learned to ride a bike, was a campfire girl, and had a pony. When President Kennedy visited Tillamook many years ago, she served tea.
In many ways, Marie was ahead of her time, teaching those around her that anything is possible if they have the desire and support. She made an impact on her family and friends in the short time Marie was with us that benefits people with disabilities today.