Volune LIIIJanuary 2006Number 1

Debbie's Place to Call "Home" Now Has a New Name...
Her Own

Elaine, Debbie and Bro. Kenneth Bleiler stand in front of the Bleiler Caring Cottage at the Masonic Village at Elizabethtown.

It seems everybody knows Debbie Bleiler at the Masonic Village at Elizabethtown. She is the smiling face at the campus beauty salon; the one giving warm hugs to fellow parishioners at the Sell Chapel on Sunday mornings. Residents and staff describe her as compassionate, caring and always willing to help those in need.

Debbie moved to the Masonic Village six years ago, and became one of the very first permanent residents at the Residential/Respite Cottage - now home to eight adults with developmental challenges. Bro. Kenneth and wife Elaine Bleiler are proud of their daughter in many ways. But both agree that Debbie might not be the person she is today, had she not been given the opportunities provided by the Masonic Village.

As of November, Debbie has one more reason for being well-known around campus. That's because, through ongoing support and generous donations, the Bleilers earned the honor of officially naming Debbie's current home the "Bleiler Caring Cottage."

Supporting the program comes as second nature to the Bleilers. It is simply a continuation of the care and guidance they provided their daughter for nearly 40 years before she came to the Masonic Village. Both are thankful for what the Masonic Village has offered their family.

"All eight caregivers welcomed [Debbie] with open arms and have guided the residents to adjust to living together, enriching their lives in so many ways," Mrs. Bleiler said. "I knew after a few months that Debbie was very happy."

Both parents note that Debbie has become more independent and has grown emotionally since she moved to the cottage. The experience also has been positive for Bro. and Mrs. Bleiler.

Mrs. Bleiler,

"It was like a load had been lifted from our shoulders, knowing that she would be taken care of for the rest of her life," Bro. Bleiler said.

The Bleilers moved to the Masonic Village in September 2000, a year after Debbie made the campus her new home. They immediately stirred up some attention by becoming the first family to have three generations living on campus. Elaine's father, Bro. Hahn, had moved to the Masonic Village in 1997.

Over the years, the Bleilers have garnered more interest on campus for their dedication to the Bleiler Caring Cottage. Perhaps the most noted of their contributions is the Caribbean cruise the Bleilers financed for six cottage residents and three staff members. The trip was paid for by the profits earned from Elaine's angel pin sales.

Bro. and Mrs. Bleiler have enjoyed seeing the cottage grow over the years, and hope that the program continues to touch the lives of families like theirs.

"Our hope is to see the program expand and provide opportunities and peace of mind which we now have knowing our loved one is in a caring environment," Bro. Bleiler said.

Photo caption: Elaine, Debbie and Bro. Kenneth Bleiler stand in front of the Bleiler Caring Cottage at the Masonic Village at Elizabethtown.

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