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Rick’s House: Aldersgate home a dream come true

Aldersgate opens third home for special needs adults on campus of Methodist Manor

By Jessica Connor

FLORENCE—It’s the kind of place Rick DeBerry would have wanted to live: four bedrooms, private bathrooms, a nice screened porch and a good backyard. It’s a place where he and other men with special needs could live on their own, without parents, but close enough for visits.

DeBerry passed away when he was 30. But now, thanks to a partnership among his mother Kathleen Baskin, Methodist Manor and Aldersgate Special Needs Ministry, DeBerry s memory lives on through the creation of Rick s House, the third Aldersgate home to be built in South Carolina.

The house, designed by FW Architects Inc. of Florence, is situated on nearly an acre of land on property owned by Methodist Manor. Manor is providing use of the land, Baskin donated the funds for construction, and Aldersgate is providing staff and support, plus raising funds for home furnishings, a van for transport and start-up operational costs.

Supporters broke ground on Rick s House during a special ceremony March 3.

It feels really wonderful,  Baskin said. I think (Rick) would be really pleased, and his sisters are very pleased. It s like a living memorial. 

Full construction will begin shortly, and they hope to have the house built by Baskin s 96th birthday Sept. 11. It will house four men.

Betty Moss McGuirt, chair of Aldersgate, told the crowd she is very excited about the project, which had extraordinary timing. Baskin, who lives at Methodist Manor, had started raising funds for such a home several years ago, and she learned about Aldersgate from the Manor s chaplain, Ann Ayres. The day Baskin called McGuirt to propose funding a home in Florence happened to be the very same day McGuirt was charged by Bishop Jonathan Holston at Annual Conference 2013 to develop a God-sized dream.

Then I got the call from Mrs. Baskin that day and thought, ˜This is our God-sized dream!  McGuirt said.

Baskin said Aldersgate homes give adults with special needs a certain amount of independence they would not have otherwise.

A lot of them would like to live separate (from family) so it s their home, not their parents ,  Baskin said.

And, she added, parents of children with special needs often face a unique dilemma when they plan their retirement. The parents typically cannot live in a retirement community like Methodist Manor unless they know their child has another place to live, and most of these children will outlive their parents. DeBerry passed away before his mother, so that wasn t an issue, but Baskin knows of other parents who cannot move to a retirement community because they have no care for their adult special needs children.

John Orr, chair of the Manor s board of directors, agreed.

  Some elderly families have special needs children and can t move here because they re not sure where their child will go,  Orr said. This is a good fit for us. We have the land, and Mrs. Baskin is a resident, so we felt it would be a good outreach. We re glad we can help. 

Teressa Tabor, Manor executive director, said the launch of Rick s House has been something Baskin has wanted a long time.

I m glad to see it come to fruition,  Tabor said.

Two other Aldersgate homes exist in S.C., and both are filled and have a waiting list. One in Columbia near Epworth Children s Home houses adult women with special needs, and one in Orangeburg near The Oaks houses adult men with special needs.

On hand for the groundbreaking were Aldersgate and Methodist Manor board members and staff; Baskin; her three daughters Kathleen Brungard, Jacquelyn O Dell and Maria Clayton; Manor residents; and clergy and laity supporters from across the conference and district.

Aldersgate is a ministry of the S.C. Conference of the United Methodist Church. For more about their ministry, visit www.umcsc.org/home/ministries/outreach/aldersgate-special-needs-ministry /.

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