Source: The Corydon Democrat

Remove Images

Blue River Services' spirit abounds
My Opinion

by Jo Ann Spieth-Saylor

June 24, 2014

Thirty years ago, when I was living west of Corydon, in the Springs Valley subdivision, I had new neighbors move in across the road. The couple was about the same age as my first husband and me. They had a young son; we had just had a son. They were from northern Indiana; and we were familiar with the area, having moved to Harrison County six years earlier from Purdue University.

The man said he had been hired to work for a nonprofit agency that I wasn't familiar with. Remember, until that year, 1984, I didn't have any children, the only relative I had here was my husband and I was not yet employed by this newspaper.

Our new neighbor was Daniel J. Lowe, who took the helm of Blue River Services Inc.

Blue River Services already had 25 years under its belt when Lowe was hired. It was started by six families in Palmyra who had children with special needs but wanted to find a way to incorporate them into the community.

Through the years, not only did the mission and vision of the agency expand, but so did its service area. BRS now provides a variety of services to more than 16,000 individuals in 29 Southern Indiana counties. It's grown from 35 employees when Lowe was hired to about 400.

One of the earliest stories I recall about Blue River Services was when a Corydon day care was ready to close its doors with little-to-no warning to the parents who used the facility. Lowe found a way for BRS to take over the service; the parents and children never missed a beat. Later, my own children attended Rainbow's End Day Care in Corydon and now my granddaughter goes there. Other Rainbow's End facilities have been added since then.

I also became acquainted with some of Blue River Services' group home residents as they began attending Corydon Presbyterian Church, where I am a member. Both the residents and church members grew from the experience.

However, it has been since joining the newspaper staff in 1991 that I've really had the opportunity to learn about this agency and the opportunities it provides to the community, both those with disabilities as well as the population in general. I've written numerous stories about BRS, from its housing opportunities to its transportation program and everything in between. I've heard Lowe's presentation on more than one occasion when making requests for United Way funds when I served on the Metro United Way's Community Action Team.

Earlier this month, at the Spirit of Blue River fundraising toast and dinner hosted by BRS, Lowe outlined the agency's programs — and, believe me, the list was lengthy — while speaking about its past and future.

"I believe Blue River Services will continue to improve the quality and richness of life in Southern Indiana for another 55 years," Lowe said.

Being as humble as I've always found him to be, Lowe didn't say that it would continue because of him. Rather, his toast was made to the individuals whom BRS serves, its employees and the community.

I missed the opportunity that evening to share my toast to the agency that many of us would be lost without.

So, imagine me raising a glass in recognition of an organization that continues to serve a purpose and isn't afraid to take on challenges of offering new opportunities whenever the need arises. But let's not overlook the man who's been behind it for the past 30 years.

Cheers to Blue River and to Dan Lowe!