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LETTER: St. Croix Industries should continue operating

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To the Editor:

As a family member of a disabled adult, I must speak to the issues facing our County Board and St. Croix Industries.

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Life can change in an instant for anyone.

Due to a traumatic brain injury induced by a cardiac arrest, my brother was left permanently disabled due to short-term memory loss.

Since family were scattered across three states, the church and the community stepped up and helped fill the gap at first ... but that support has faded now seven years later.

But before you are too critical of them, ask yourself if you are willing or able to dedicate one day a week or even one day a month to a disabled person and their family? The truth of the matter is ... the community is too busy with their own lives -- their jobs, their commutes, their kids' soccer games, etc.

While the community can fill in with occasional short-term assistance or money, that is not a long-term solution.

An agency like St. Croix Industries provides regular social interaction in a work environment and helps re-instill the value and reward of employment for disabled adults. Otherwise their days would likely consist of watching TV, and we all know that sedentary lifestyles are not healthy.

This service is a great benefit for the families as well, and as a result, family members are not giving up their jobs to care for a disabled adult family member.

This service not only benefits these clients and their families, but the community at large with the integration of disabled adults in the work force and the unique qualities they share with their employers and fellow co-workers. It is something worthy of the County's investment for diversity in local businesses, with or without State monies.

As always in life, when you have money you have lots of options. When you don't have money, you have very few options. Our state and county shouldn't take away options from those who are most vulnerable. St. Croix Industries has a higher population of lower-functioning adults compared to other private agencies.

What will happen to these folks and their families if St. Croix Industries is dissolved? Contact your County Board member and ask for them to find a way to continue these services.

Kim Dupre

Emerald

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