AngelaHuston@zoominternet.net   CRHuston@zoominternet.net

Medina Creative Housing celebrated its 10th annual Independence Walk July 3 when about 100 people, many with their dogs, gathered to make the two-mile round-trip walk from the Creative Housing Living I and II apartments on North Huntington Street to the Creative Living Way III and IV site, and then back again.

MCH CEO Dianne DePasquale-Hagerty, in her 17th year directing the agency, addressed the crowd before the walkers got underway. She emphasized what a valuable asset the residents are to the community that has welcomed them and of which they have become such an integral part. The national holiday is the perfect time for them, their families, and friends to celebrate life, freedom, and the ability to make productive lifestyle choices.

DePasquale-Hagerty introduced long-time resident Jen Cockrell, who was instrumental in initiating this walk that has become such a meaningful tradtion. Cockrell said she wanted to organize the walk "to show people how independent we are."

Another long-time resident, Matt Isaac, fondly regarded as The Ambassador, spoke highly of the positive aspects of being able to live independently that included making new friends and taking part in many enjoyable activities. He concluded his remarks with a happy birthday shout-out to MCH staff member Sharon Biggins.

Continuing supporters, Ohio State Representative President Larry Obhof and Representative Steve Hambley, praised DePasquale-Hagerty and MCH for their positive, productive roles in the community. Obhof said this great group of people understands the true meaning of Independence Day, and Hambley said the outstanding services provided by MCH are not excelled anywhere.

Mike Warner presented DePasquale-Hagerty with a check for $7,700, money raised from the recent Ride for Independence Poker Run in which 80 riders participated. It and the proceeds from the walk will go towards residents' enrichment programs.

Val Perkins, President of the all-volunteer Board, offered praise to those who continue to make this walk a reality. MCH serves 800 people, but Perkins said there are still another 450 on the housing waiting list.

Walkers rested briefly at Creative Living Way III and IV and enjoyed snacks and cold beverages before returning to the apartment site on Huntington for a barbeque picnic. In addition to the good food, there were games, music, and a lot of socializing after which guests were invited to watch the City of Medina fireworks and make s'mores around a bonfire.

Sponsors for this event were Ride for Independence, Ganley of Bedford Imports, I-Candi Graphics, Sandridge Foods, and Delaware North. Special thanks went to Medina Creative employees, Medina Breakfast Kiwanis, Medina Township Police, Medina City Police, and Tom Borror.

It is the mission of Medina Creative Housing "to develop quality housing, services and supports to enable individuals with disabilities to live their lives with dignity and opportunity." Under its umbrella are MC Accessibility, MC Living, Creative Living for Life, Life Steps, MC Coffee, MC Property Maintenance, Resident Enrichment Program, MC Creative Pet Play, MC Produce, MC Dynamic Day Supports, MC Transitions, Creative Cafe, MC Excursions, MC Arts, Ticket to Work, Creatively Tagged Boutique, and MC Therapy Ranch.