Michael Turner: Funding Horizons important to community

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It is critically important for Horizons Specialized Services to receive adequate funding so that it can provide services to Routt County residents who have been on its waiting list. There are dozens of reasons why this is so important, including:

1. Vulnerability of individuals with mental retardation, including concerns for their physical safety and the potential for these individuals to be exploited by con artists, even in Routt County.

2. Extreme loneliness and isolation experienced by these individuals, who are very limited in their ability to sustain appropriate social interaction and friendships.

3. Necessity for ongoing supervision to assist these individuals with daily hygiene and other living skills relative to their personal health and well-being.

4. Assistance with money management, bill paying, grocery shopping and other tasks related to independent living.

5. Tremendous emotional, financial and physical strain on the families who have struggled to care for their family member with mental retardation without support from Horizons. Parents, siblings, grandparents and others are greatly affected by the needs of their family member with mental retardation.

6.With supervision and assistance from Horizons, many individuals with mental retardation are fully capable of holding jobs and being active, contributing members of our community.

7. From a moral and humanitarian perspective, providing necessary services to individuals with mental retardation is the right thing to do.

Please remember that no one chooses to be born with mental retardation, but we can all choose to help. I am the father of Jeffrey Turner, who has been on the Horizons waiting list for almost 7 years.

Please vote "yes" on Referendum 1B.

Michael Turner

Steamboat Springs

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