News

MARC Center expands 46 percent, keeps initials

Annual motorcycle run has become top fund-raiser; money returned to UW
By MIKE BROWN
Reporter Editor


Ann King, MARC Center president, checks out the beginning of the final phase of remodeling, expansion project as Ben Darby (L) and Gary Darby work on carpeting. Center should reopen next week. 
Reporter/Mike Brown Ann King, MARC Center president, checks out the beginning of the final phase of remodeling, expansion project as Ben Darby (L) and Gary Darby work on carpeting. Center should reopen next week. Reporter/Mike Brown Rockdale’s Milam Association for Retarded Citizens (MARC) is expanding its center and changing its name, but not its mission.

MARC is keeping its initials but, as with other similar groups across the state and nation, will no longer use the word “retarded.”

And it is completing a major renovation at its center, located on the grounds of Richards Memorial Hospital.

“We’d like to keep being called MARC, though,” Ann King, organization president, said. “We’re coming up with another acronym. Milam Adult Resource Center is being considered.”

I/ DD—MARC is one of the most unique organizations in the area.


MARC Center was beehive of activity for past two months as a 1,500-square-foot expansion was added onto MARC Centers eastern end, adding about 40 percent more floor space inside. The building is now nearing completion with interior finishing being wrapped up. Bland Construction Company is the general contractor and the facility could reopen as soon as next week. The MARC Center has been operating during the construction in the fellowship hall of St. John’s United Methodist Church. 
Photo courtesy Ann King MARC Center was beehive of activity for past two months as a 1,500-square-foot expansion was added onto MARC Centers eastern end, adding about 40 percent more floor space inside. The building is now nearing completion with interior finishing being wrapped up. Bland Construction Company is the general contractor and the facility could reopen as soon as next week. The MARC Center has been operating during the construction in the fellowship hall of St. John’s United Methodist Church. Photo courtesy Ann King It started in the home of several parents, 46 years ago to provide after-school activities for students with what was then called mental retardation.

Ethel Throckmorton, who was instrumental in getting the organization going, is still MARC secretary.

(After the passage of federal legislation called “Rosa’s Law” last year, the condition is now to be referred to as “Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, or I/DD.)

MARC RUNS—There’s something else unique about MARC.

It has become almost wholly supported by the annual MARC Motorcycle (and other vehicles) Run which departs from The Ranch.

In recent years those runs have become so successful MARC has returned money to the South Milam County United Way.

“ The first run raised $300,” King said. “Last year’s run raised $ 15,000. In the 10-year history of the run it has raised over $60,000.”

“We had been supported by United Way but when Alcoa left, their ability to raise funds became very tight so we just told them to take the money they’d been giving us and give it to some organization that really needed it more,” King said.

MARC has also received a grant from the Earl and Hazel Pierson Foundation of Houston.

EXPA NSION—The MA RC Center’s expansion was made necessary by its success.

“We have grown to 23 consumers— the word which replaced ‘clients’—and they were almost literally bumping into each other,” King said. “ We have some in wheelchairs and some using leg braces and we just needed a lot more room.”

“What’s interesting is that we now have a group that’s in their 50s and another that’s in their 20s and they are quite different,” King said.

“The 20-year-olds have come up in the Internet generation and are quite used to using all the new technology.”

EXPA NSION—Plans were made to add 1,500 square feet to the 3,200-square-foot building on the campus of Richards Memorial Hospital.

It’s almost complete.

“ They did a great job,” King said. “You really have to look hard to see where the new part of the building joins the older part.”

But that doesn’t mean it’s all clear sailing. State budget cuts are impacting MARC, as they are many agencies.

“Our staffing is through Central Counties Center-Mental Health/ Mental Retardation, which is also changing its name,” King said.

“They are facing some pretty severe cuts and that would leave us with this nice, new expanded center but not enough staffing to take advantage of it,” she said.

She asked MARC supporters to call Sen. Steve Ogden or State Rep. Dr. Charles Schwertner.

FUND R AISER—MARC is hosting a barbecue fund raiser and auction, to benefit the expansion project, Saturday, April 2, at The Ranch, during the 2010 MARC Run.

Plates—barbecue and all the trimmings—are $8 each, with serving beginning at 12-noon and lasting until food is sold out.

A live auction starts at 4:30 p.m. with special items including a handmade quilt, made from Tshirts of the MARC Run’s previous nine years.

The quilt will be on display for the next two weeks at Rockdale Federal Credit Union.

DIRECTORS—Members of the MARC board are:

King, president; Jocelyn Lewis, vice-president; Ann Dyer, secretar y; Ethel Throckmorton, treasurer.

Carole Simank, Dennis Simank, Kay Fisher, Rachel Gerren, Judy Hudson, Linda Crane, Laurene Shumaker.

Denise Starnes, Boyd Taylor, A shley Hardin, Johnniely nn Brown, Judy Davis.

Staffers are Wanda Downey(director), Darlene Mantey and Gloria Bransetter.

Interim supervisor for CCC/ MHMR is Marilynn Reavis.


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The burn ban for Milam County has been lifted. Burning is always prohibited in the county's municipalities.


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