BETTY WILLIAMS CONTINUALLY INSPIRED TO HELP THOSE IN NEEDCOMMENTARY BY LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR SUSAN CROUCHMy first encounter with Betty Williams was when I started as a county commissioner in Evansville. Her strong voice and tireless advocacy for individuals who have Down’s syndrome, autism or cerebral palsy inspired me to help the 100,000 Hoosiers with an intellectual and developmental disability. Betty, who had cerebral palsy, showed me that people with disabilities are no different than the rest of us. They want to love and be loved in return. They want the opportunity to take risks and learn from their mistakes, but most importantly, they want to be as independent as possible and be successful.Betty’s advocacy helped the Indiana General Assembly pass legislation in 2017. This created a 17 person task force, which I had the honor of chairing and serving alongside Betty. Our purpose was a direct one, assess current supports and services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and come up with a plan to make them better. We recently concluded our meetings and delivered our report outlining the goals and recommendations on how to best serve those with an intellectual and developmental disability to the general assembly.The task force took their job seriously and we traveled the entire state to hear from families, providers, and people with disabilities to learn what was most important to them. Over the last year, we met 10 times in places from Boonville to Valparaiso and New Albany to Columbia City. Each meeting, we tried to visit providers that delivered important services to people with disabilities to see firsthand what services and supports were being accessed. At our meetings, we took public comment from more than 100 self-advocates with intellectual and developmental disabilities, 60 family members, advocacy organizations, numerous staff from 26 service providers and state government agencies on how we could fix some of the gaps in how we are helping these individuals.I learned it is imperative we continue to evolve the services and supports for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. People want choices in the type of services they receive and where they receive them. I am constantly inspired by the work of our service providers in our state. They are trying to stay fresh with ideas, some offer art and others run coffee shops. I always walk away feeling proud in how they provide services and how they access the individuals’ talents.As the task force worked on our report, we relied on data to better understand and evaluate community-based services. This helped to focus on the cost, utilization, and services of the existing programs and how we could improve. Our report highlights four goals: prioritize community settings and individualized approaches, advance and maximize community and state resources and programs to be inclusive to all Hoosiers, respond to individual and family needs and include a wide array of supports and services that are sustainable, equitable and available across all communities. To read the report in its entirety, visit www.in.gov/fssa/files/1102_final_report_11.1.2018.pdf.As our work came to an end, I continued to think about my friend, Betty. She became ill this past June and was unable to attend the last few meetings of the task force. I know her wishes were carried through by the other members and I think she would be proud of our final report. Betty passed away just a few weeks ago, but her advocacy and spirit is heard throughout the final report. She taught us to be bold, and stand up for those who need help, and I hope the Indiana General Assembly enacts the recommendations from the task force this legislative session.I am proud that Indiana has a strong history of helping Hoosiers with intellectual and developmental disabilities through community-based services and supports across their lifespan, rather than relying on state-operated facilities to serve them. If we truly want to take our state to the Next Level, we must continue to invest in, and improve upon, these services and meet the needs of the individuals, their families and the community-based organizations.FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmail
Employees Edgar Rivero and Karen Wilchens look at a rendering of a job at OC Fiberglass. By MADDY VITALEThere are no short cuts. There are no patch jobs. Just fine craftsmanship by the OC Fiberglass team.They put customers first to deliver quality work when designing decks, railings, siding and renovations to homes throughout the region, said Edgar Rivero, who handles the company’s marketing.OC Fiberglass, located at 1125 Asbury Ave. in Ocean City, became a business in 2014. It started with a crew of three brothers and a friend.Since then, and with the opening of the storefront in 2017 it is growing and has 18 people employed, including six carpenters.Rivero, 23, of Ocean City, is the nephew of three of the owners and said he has some ideas why they are becoming successful.“We have a reputation of turning down some requests because we want to do things right,” Rivero said. “We don’t want to Band-Aid a problem. Customers know that we want to fix it right the first time.”He added, “I think that is why we have loyal customers. That has really driven our recommendations. They know we want to do the work the best way possible.”From left, top to bottom: Carlos Rivero, Christian Hernandez, Eduardo Rivero, Javier Santiago. (Photo courtesy OC Fiberglass)Honesty and integrity are what it is all about, Rivero said.Carlos Rivero and his friend, Javier Santiago, started OC Fiberglass in 2014. They gradually built up their business and then Rivero’s brothers, Christian Hernandez and Eduardo Rivero joined the growing team.Carlos handles sales, estimates and meets with clients and builders, while Javier, Eduardo and Christian do the work.Customer reviews tell the story of what it is like when hiring the team to do a project.Mary Ann Noss wrote a review with a five-star rating on the Facebook page for OC Fiberglass.“Carlos and his crew just completed four decks and installed a French door for us and did an excellent job! Carlos was very understanding, extremely knowledgeable, and trustworthy. Their workmanship is meticulous, and the clean-up was fantastic. We highly recommend Ocean City Fiberglass!”Bruce Hamlin reviewed Ocean City Fiberglass and also gave it five stars.He put it simply: “Excellent work coupled with trained employees who clean up after themselves.”This is a siding job completed by OC Fiberglass in Avalon. (Photo courtesy OC Fiberglass)Over the years, as their workmanship has become more and more known, Carlos and his team decided to expand. Now, with a full complement of workers, OC Fiberglass can handle even bigger jobs and have branched out into renovations.Edgar said they specialize in fiberglass decks, but definitely take pride in and do an excellent job on many projects.“Deck work is huge here. All of the islands need fiberglass decks.” he said. “We can’t use regular decking. Fiberglass is an insulator and helps keep the space below dry.”When it comes to family businesses, many succeed, some fail.Edgar said this team knows success comes from working hard for the customer.“We are really honest with ourselves. We keep ourselves accountable and make sure pride doesn’t get in the way of getting things done,” he said. “We are close enough to tell ourselves the hard truths and get it done in the end.”And if the idea of learning the trade sounds appealing, Edgar said the team is always looking for new talent.“We are always looking for talent,” he noted. “We need people to work. There’s an opportunity to learn the fiberglass trade.”For more information or to schedule an appointment visit www.ocfiberglass.com or call (609) 938-6205.OC Fiberglass is located at 1125 Asbury Ave. in Ocean City.