A Lifetime at Lakemary: Rick’s Story
In 1969, Lakemary Center opened its doors as a school for children with special needs in Paola. Richard, or ‘Rick’ as he likes to be called, was one of the first children to attend the new school, and he has been a part of the institution ever since.
Rick was just 6 years old when he arrived at Lakemary for his first day of school dressed in a suit. At that time, public schools did not provide special education. Over the next decade, he attended classes and graduated with his fellow peers. When adult services were added in 1982, Rick moved into one of the first group homes that were built in Paola. His room is filled with things he loves, including train memorabilia he received from his uncle who worked as a train inspector.
Rick started working at Tri-Ko in 1987, and he has worked there for more than 30 years. He has also has been a yell leader for the Kansas Special Olympics team and enjoys performing in the Lakemary Talent Show every year. Rick also loves to sing and travel.
Today, Rick is still a familiar face around Lakemary. He visits staff frequently to find out how they are doing and attends several events throughout the year. The Annual Family Picnic was an event Rick helped start years ago, and he has led the blessing before each meal for 35 years now.
“I like being a friend here at Lakemary because Lakemary’s been nice to me a lot,” says Rick.
Watch this video to learn more about Rick’s story: