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Commissioner tours Hope Assoc.
RUMFORD -- Commissioner Mary Mayhew of the Department of Health and Human Services was in Rumford last week, taking note of the needs and concerns of the Rural Employment Network and the Hope Association.
Hope Association has a long history of providing a wide range of services for people with developmental disabilities. They are recognized and highly respected in the community for the work that they do.
Hope Association has more than 60 clients ranging from the early twenties to the mid-seventies.
Making the late afternoon presentation at Hope Association was program director Donna Landry, who has worked for Hope Assoc. for nine years. She was assisted by residential director, Tammy Waugh, who has been with Hope Assoc. for 25 years. Executive Director Catherine Johnson was away on a previously-scheduled vacation, but made sure the commissioner had a copy of the book, Hope Association - A History 1956–2009.
As Mayhew was on her way to the Hope Association with local Rep. Matt Peterson, Landry received a phone call from Vickie Morton, director of the work program at 82 congress St., that their visit went well.
Following a tour of the 85 Lincoln Ave. facility, Mayhew sat down with officials and clearly stated the present directive of the new LePage administration.
Mayhew noted, "It's about aligning limited resources versus waiting lists for services. It's matter of looking at the budget and how our resources are being allocated."
She noted that the focus is on how to reduce those waiting lists, while, at the same time, looking at a way to find more resources.
Landry said a major concern is frozen funding because "we can't grow." Hope Association works closely with the Department of Health and Human Services and other service providers.
Landry also discussed various fundraising events, including the bingo, Oktoberfest, the Ride-In, a quilting program, the spring craft fair and the recent golf tournament. "We're just so supported by this community."
Programs like the greenhouse and the What Not Shop are also supported by the area.
Landry talked about the challenges of making adjustments following cuts in funding in various state and federal programs. In one case, they had to be creative in a cut in transportation and did no without losing any clients.
Peterson, who serves on the Appropriations Committee, noted, "We're very well served by Commissioner Mayhew and her staff. She's accessible and her staff is available."
Peterson also told Mayhew that the history of the Hope Association stands by itself.
Before joining the LePage Administration, Mayhew served as vice president of the Maine Hospital Association for 11 years.
From left are Commissioner Mary Mayhew of the Department of Health and Human Services, local state Rep. Matt Peterson, and Donna Landry and Tammy Waugh of the Hope Association. The commissioner visited Rumford last week to tour the Rural Employment Network and Hope Association. (Times photo by Bruce Farrin)