Celebrating Miss Ferne’s efforts | News | The Press and Standard
by The Press and Standard | October 7, 2015 3:30 pm
Photo by GEORGE SALSBERRY
HONORED FOR DEDICATION. Ferne Brandt was honored for her service to the special needs population of Colleton County last Monday afternoon when the Colleton County Board of Disabilities and Special Needs named their newest residential facility in her honor. Shown at the dedication ceremonies are, left to right, Dean Redd, Mayor Bill Young, Raymond Burke, Ferne Brandt, Renea Hannah, Linda Howard and Gilda Barnwell.
By GEORGE SALSBERRY
Monday afternoon was a first for the Colleton County Board of Disabilities and Special Needs.
The open house and ribbon-cutting for the newest community training home was the first time that the board had decided to name one of their residential facilities for someone who has been instrumental in the success of the organization.
Monday afternoon, the home at 202 Woodland Terrace Drive was formally christened the Ferne Brandt Community Training Home.
Rufus Britt III, District II director for the South Carolina Department of Disabilities and Special Needs, said, “It is fitting to have the home named after Miss Ferne, who has been an advocate for people with disabilities for many, many years.
“We have worked together on a few projects,” Britt said. “She is a wonderful woman and I think this home is going to be a wonderful opportunity for some folks with disabilities to call home.”
Brandt said she was surprised when she learned that the home would bear her name. “It is a great honor.”
For 20 years, Brandt has led Special Gatherings, a ministry that serves people with special needs. For 12 years, she was a member of the local board.
Brandt suggests that her work on the board and her work with the ministry that meets Sunday afternoons in the fellowship hall of the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church have dovetailed nicely.
“What I could do there (on the board) helped me learn for Special Gatherings, to learn what the needs were of our individuals,” she explained.
“In addition to all that,” Colleton County Board of Disabilities and Special Needs Director Dean Redd said, “she volunteers her time; she makes vacation dreams come true for our consumers by accompanying them on cruises, trips to Florida.
“Ferne is always there for our consumers and our staff,” Redd added. “She is a special, wonderful lady. It is an honor to do something like this for her.”
The Ferne Brandt Community Training Home is Colleton County’s sixth such home, and will provide a home for four men with life-long intellectual disabilities. Their new residence, Redd explained, “will help them be assimilated into the community.”
The board will provide 24-hour supervision at the residence, and the residents either have jobs in the community or attend the day program at the Board of Disabilities and Special Need’s facility.
The residents moved into the home at the end of August. “They are very proud to be here and they wanted to show it off,” Redd explained.
All six of the community training homes have four bedrooms. The board also operates two community residential care facilities, each with eight residents, and another 18 people participate in the board’s supervised living program
Establishing the sixth community training home, Redd explained, began when the South Carolina Department of Disabilities and Special Needs received funding from the state legislature and decided to use the funding to fuel an initiative to increase the number of residential facilities state-wide.
The local board applied for a grant and received $75,000 to assist in the purchasing of the home and another $11,000 to cover the cost of installing a sprinkler system in the residence from the state agency. “The balance of the $143,000 was on us,” Redd added.
“We bought the home in October and have been slowly remodeling it since then,” Redd said.
Redd said that he is currently writing a grant through the South Carolina Housing Trust Fund that seeks up to $75,000 to help pay for balance of the purchase price, as well as some of the improvement expenses.
He said that the board plans to apply to the state to open a new home next year which will provide services for the medically fragile population.