Not only was it a day for celebrating our nation's independence, but for eight new residents who are starting a much-anticipated independent life style in the newly-completed, customized Medina Creative Living units on Creative Way in Medina Township, it was the realization of a dream.

The evening of July 3 began at the North Huntington site of Medina Creative Living I and II where a crowd of supporters gathered for the ninth annual Independence Walk to Medina Creative Living III and IV on Creative Way.

Dianne DePasquale-Hagerty, CEO, Medina Creative Housing, opened the ribbon cutting ceremony with a brief history of MCH and how it has been instrumental in helping so many achieve a quality of life that included not only independence but security and self-sustainability. She again thanked all who had come together to help all the residents become independent.

Army Sgt. First Class Stephen Callahan and David Lariviere performed the flag-raising, after which they led everyone in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.

Medina Creative Living Board President David Betsill and Medina Creative Living for Life Board President Greg Onderson thanked everyone who helped make this dream come true for all the residents. Onderson's daughter is one of the newest residents; he had only the highest praise for DePasquale-Hagerty for her persistance in creating fulfilling, productive ways of life for people with disabilities.

Peter Mullen, North American Sales Manager, and Domenic DeCaria, New Business Development Manager, both managers from Lubrizol, congratulated the new residents and DePasquale-Hagerty. Lubrizol provided generous financial assistance to the project.

New resident Katherine Simmons, along with her parents, Bryan and Pamela Simmons, gave heartfelt thanks for this opportunity they never believed could be possible. Katherine is anxiously looking forward to having the responsibility of living on her own and meeting new friends. Her father proclaimed this was truly an independence day, the culmination of dreams.

State Senator Larry Obhof said he was humbled to be at this gathering (he has attended all nine years), and praised DePasquale-Hagerty for her achievements, what she describes as her life's calling.

State Representative Steve Hambley added, "They say a house is made with walls and beams, but a home is made with love and dreams." Creative Living for Life is proof of that.

The enthusiastic crowd shouted "Welcome Home" as residents then cut the ribbon, after which people toured the lovely units. Guests then walked back to the North Huntington site for an evening of eating, music, games, and pony cart rides, all capped off with a fireworks display compliments of the City of Medina.

Special thanks went to American Legion/Phill Grassa, Anderson Landscaping, Hecky Group, Lubrizol, Medina Township Police Chief Dave Arbogast, and Tober Builders.

MCH now has 70 units, with a waiting list of 450 people. The organization offers 18 different programs to fulfill the needs of those with disabilities, to which DePasquale-Hagerty said, "....and we aren't going to stop!" Veterans suffering from PTSD and other military-related issues will be eligible for MCH opportunities and therapy services.

It is the mission of MCH to "develop quality housing, services and supports to enable individuals with disabilities to live their lives with dignity and opportunity."