1991 - Letter From Dr. Allrich
This letter is in response to your recent letter, informing me that the Board of Emmaus had voted to name the remodeled administrator’s home “The Allrich House.” This comes as a delightful surprise and I feel highly honored, not only for myself but on behalf of the whole Allrich family. I mention the family because many members of the Allrich family have been intimately related to the St. Charles home since its beginning.
My father, who was the pastor at St. John in St. Charles was president of the Board when the Emmaus property was purchased and the 1st building erected in 1901. My mother, a native of St. Charles was among the first workers at the time (as well as my sister) and my father married her after his first wife passed away. About 1907 he accepted a call to a church in Iowa. When he passed away in 1917, our mother with five children moved back to St. Charles and in the ensuing years we often visited the home.
Later, my sister Marie, worked at the house before she became an RN. My brother, Fred, worked at the Home when he was at Eden Seminary (also met his wife there) and later he was a member of the Board for many years.
When I was at Eden, I did some summer work at the Home and it was at Emmaus that I preached my first sermon – in the Merten Building Chapel.
My years as Superintendent/Chaplain began in 1964. At that time the home was still a rather isolated institution, depending largely on donations received from churches. Needless to say, we lived on a very limited budget but with the help of a dedicated staff and a supportive Board, we managed to survive.
My indispensable coworkers were my wife, who became the unofficial interior decorator of the Home, and my sister Martha who was my registered nurse. When State licensing was required, it brought about many changes, but we also began getting some state and federal funds.
Over the years, we managed to do much renovation, build new buildings, institute rehab programs, increase staff, acquire United Way and county support etc.… Humorously, I must add that all these improvements were made on balanced annual budgets – thanks to the watchful and concerned eye of Ted Bruere.
In all honesty, I must say that it was quite a challenge to keep the good ship Emmaus on an even keel during those 16 years of many changes, and, whatever progress we made was due to a sympathetic family, a supportive board, and dedicated staff.
When I retired in 1980, I had the satisfaction of feeling that we had accomplished a great deal and that Emmaus was poised for an even greater future. During my 10 years of retirement I have rejoiced to see signs of continuing improvement and the base of support growing wider and wider.
This letter is longer than I had intended, and I hope that I haven’t bored you, but I thought you might appreciate knowing a segment of Emmaus’ history and something about the Allrich relationship to the Home, especially since you are a newcomer. Thank you again for your kind letter and please convey to the Board the appreciation of my wife and I and the other Allriches.
May God continue to bless the compassionate work of Emmaus, the dedicated efforts of yourself and your coworkers, and the supportive service which the Board performs.
- Excerpted from a letter written to the Emmaus Board of Directors from retired Dr. Rudolph Allrich
Ashley Viehmann Milam grew up in Immanuel United Church of Christ, in Ferguson, Missouri. She frequently heard about the mission and ministry of Emmaus Homes though her church, which has been a strong supporter of Emmaus for many years. It was instilled in her from a young age that it was important to support those who have been marginalized by society.
Ashley always thought the mission was important, but about a decade ago, when her nephew, Anthony, was born with Down syndrome, it reinforced this idea. It was at this time, that Ashley and her husband James Milam, became consistent donors. It is especially important to Ashley to make sure that adults with developmental disabilities have a resource like Emmaus. “For some people, their parents and guardians might not be able to provide the right care: financially, emotionally, or physically. Emmaus is ready and willing to step in and do whatever is necessary to meet those needs” Ashley says.
Ashley represents the next generation of donors who will keep Emmaus’ mission moving forward. She is a millennial and a professional in the field of science. She and James also understand the importance of consistently supporting causes that mean the most to them. We were able to sit down and talk with Ashley to learn more about her “IAmEmmaus” story:
Emmaus: How would you describe the Emmaus mission to someone else? What does it mean to you?
Ashley: Bringing happiness, health, community, and joy to adults with developmental disabilities. Making sure they live the fullest, highest quality of life possible.
Emmaus: We know that your nephew is a big reason why you choose to support Emmaus. Are there other reasons why this cause is important to you right now?
Ashley: Sometimes people, like the clients Emmaus serves, and other members of society, might not have a lot of visibility. They may not have a big voice in how things are done or how policies are made. That does not mean they are not absolutely important. We should make sure that there is always someone there to advocate for them. I think that it is great that Emmaus keeps the needs of people with developmental disabilities front and center.
Emmaus: We hear that millennials are results-driven. As a younger supporter, what kind of results to you expect from an organization like Emmaus?
Ashley: Full living within the community. Especially now that we have moved away from the group living. I would hope to see clients feeling a quality of life out in the community and in their homes. But also, that members of the community would see them and how meaningful their lives are.
Emmaus: What has surprised you most about Emmaus?
Ashley: What has been possible with the community living model. Moving away from the well-known institutional setting was a big step. My eyes were opened when I realized how much work has been done to include everyone into the general population; how hard the caregivers and staff work to make that possible. When I heard this transition was coming down the turnpike, I wondered how it would go. But after taking some time to learn about the process and hearing some clients’ personal stories relayed by an Emmaus staff member, it seems it is really working well.
Emmaus: Thank you so much for sharing your perspective with us. As we close, is there anything you wish other people knew about Emmaus?
Ashley: That anybody can be referred, irrespective of their financial situation or religion. Emmaus is open to everybody who needs their services. Though Emmaus is a faith-based organization, everyone is treated equally and served equally.
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