Adrian Village honored by Veterans' Services

by Barbara Lewis 10. February 2012 11:29

The State of Michigan Veterans’ Services Division honored Dorrene Roberts and the Adrian Village community apartments on Feb. 10 for their commitment to help and hire veterans. Adrian Village provides safe and affordable housing for families. Dorrene and Adrian Village received specially-minted commemorative coins and certificates recognizing their service to veterans.

“The Veterans’ Services Division is in the business of helping Michigan’s returning heroes find jobs and establish a secure and productive life back home,” said Retired Major General Robert Smith, director of the State of Michigan Veterans’ Services Division. “From time to time we encounter a rare individual like Dorrene Roberts who goes above and beyond to help veterans. The State of Michigan owes her and Adrian Village a debt of gratitude for helping those who have served our country.”

Dorrene was nominated by Mick Albig, the Lenawee County veterans’ employment specialist with the state’s Veterans’ Services Division, whose help Dorrene sought when Adrian Village had an opening for a maintenance worker. Albig connected her with Raul (Ray) Burciaga, a veteran who had recently returned from deployment with the Michigan Army National Guard in Iraq. Ray was the motor sergeant for his unit, responsible for the maintenance and accountability of equipment and supplies.He was hired initially for a part-time position with Adrian Village, and by August of 2011 he was elevated to permanent full-time status.When Ray was called up recently by his National Guard Unit for three weeks of training, Adrian Village found a way to meet their maintenance needs while protecting his position.

Ray says he joined the Army in 2002, because he felt a civil duty after the 9/11 tragedies. He worked in infantry and as a mechanic. He also was part of the 82nd Airborne Assault. He spent six months in the border patrol on the Texas-Mexico border, and also did relief work after Hurricane Katrina. After his active duty, Ray signed up for six years in the Army National Guard. He is a communications technician and does mechanical work. Ray spent 13 months in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom. He and his wife have three sons, 7, 5, and 3, and are expecting their fourth child this summer.

Dorrene is also a veteran. She joined the Air Force in 1989 and worked in the weather field. She was stationed in Germany after the fall of the Berlin Wall, and in Omaha, Nebraska at Offutt Air force Base. Dorrene also spent time in the Middle East during the first Gulf war. During and after her active duty, Dorrene took advantage of the military's education benefits and graduated from Bellevue University in Nebraska with a bachelor's degree in business management. She has been with Lutheran Social Services for more than 10 years.

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Former "Lost Boy" builds a health clinic in Sudan

by Barbara Lewis 9. February 2012 10:04

Jacob Atem, one of the "Lost Boys of Sudan" who was helped by Lutheran Social Services' refugee foster care program, is raising funds to equip a health clinic in his native village, Maar. Jacob was only 6 when he joined other Lost Boys fleeing from civil war in Sudan. They walked for months across the desert to find refuge in Kenya. Jacob arrived in the U.S. as a refugee in 2001 and became a U.S. citizen in 2009. Now he is a Ph.D. student at the University of Florida and president of the Southern Sudan Healthcare Organization (SSHCO). The organization has built a small clinic in Maar and now hopes to be able to ship a container full of medical supplies there from Chicago. Here's a short video where Jacob talks about his hopes for the clinic.




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Angela Pilarski to head homeless family shelter

by Barbara Lewis 8. February 2012 10:04

Angela Pilarski of Farmington Hills has joined the staff of Lutheran Social Services of Michigan as director of the Wayne County Family Center, a shelter for homeless families in Westland, MI. Pilarski previously worked at The Guidance Center in Southgate, MI, where she managed the Head Start program. She holds a bachelor’s degree and a Master of Science in Administration degree from Central Michigan University. The Wayne County Family Center provides temporary housing for 24 homeless families. It is one of only a few Michigan shelters where family members can stay together in a single room. Families can live at the center for up to two years. Residents receive meals; counseling to help with financial management, job search and housing; child care and transportation assistance. The center is funded by Wayne County and managed by Lutheran Social Services of Michigan.



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Lou Prues appointed to state Board of Medicine

by Barbara Lewis 24. January 2012 15:00

Louis J. Prues of Grosse Pointe, director of strategic planning and business development at Lutheran Social Services of Michigan, has been named by Governor Rick Snyder to the Michigan Board of Medicine as a representative of the general public. He will take the oath of office January 25. Board members serve for eight years.

The Michigan Board of Medicine is responsible for regulating the entry of physicians and surgeons into practice in the state, for requiring continuing medical education of licensed physicians and for the disciplinary action against those who violate the public health code.

Prues previously served on the Michigan Board of Nursing as an appointee of Governor John Engler.




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Helping in the transition from hospital to home

by Barbara Lewis 20. January 2012 08:51

Home Care Assistance of Michigan, Lutheran Social Services’ private duty home care provider, has begun a Hospital to Home Care program, providing resources for families managing the difficult transition home after hospitalization. The program helps families prepare for discharge and manage their post-hospitalization needs at home.

“The program is anchored in the belief that patients can recover and rehabilitate at home following a hospitalization,” said Rob Louis-Ferdinand, executive director of In-Home Services. “Our clients benefit tremendously from a familiar home environment and their families enjoy peace of mind knowing that trained professionals are on hand to support their loved ones.”

A free 16-page PDF guide to the discharge and recovery process is available at




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It's never too late to be baptized!

by Barbara Lewis 12. January 2012 13:23

Jean Skiver, 85, just never got around to being baptized. She attended a Baptist church with her first husband, and became close to the pastor’s wife. Her second husband was an active member of a Lutheran church, and she attended worship services with him but never formally joined.

Jean moved to The Terraces in Grand Rapids, which offers catered independent living for active seniors, 13 years ago. She says it’s a very caring community.

That changed on January 11, when Jean was baptized during the afternoon service at Trinity Chapel at The Terraces at MapleCreek.

“When I moved here, I met a man who is still a friend and who was active in the chapel. I would also attend his Lutheran church in the community,” said Jean, who spent her working years as a housekeeper in a hospital and a college.

At MapleCreek, Jean enjoys the wide variety of social activities that offer fellowship with other residents. She started going to a volunteer-led Bible study Because Jean has some health problems that it hard for others to understand her, she doesn’t like to speak in group settings. She relies on her friend, Barb Bell, who also lives at MapleCreek, to be her voice, helping her to participate in activities she formerly avoided. She also began talking to MapleCreek's chaplain, Rebecca Ebb-Speese, known as Pastor Becky, about spiritual matters. Jean says she enjoys exploring issues of faith.

Early in the new year, Jean told Pastor Becky she wanted to be baptized. “I want to accept God and to feel more connected to church,” she said.  “I had my children baptized and now it’s time for me.”

Pastor Becky officiated at the ceremony and Barb Bell served as Jean's sponsor.

“My quality of life has changed since I moved to MapleCreek and started attending spiritual activities,” Jean said. “I know these are good for me. I feel better about my life.”

After witnessing Jean’s baptism, another resident came to Pastor Becky and said she’d never been baptized either, and she wanted to do it too. Her ceremony was held the following day, with all the residents in attendance serving as sponsors.



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Birthdays for MapleCreek residents, 99 and 102

by John Elmore 9. January 2012 15:04

Ethel Evert called it her "rehearsal" for her 100th birthday. Ethel turned 99 on New Year's Day. A few days earlier, on Thursday, Dec. 29, 2011, family and friends hosted a "99" party for her in the Life Enrichment Room of The Terraces at MapleCreek. Ethel cut the cake, and Cottages resident Elizabeth Druckey held the plates. When asked what she remembered about being a little girl, Ethel told about remembering a great fire at a brick factory within walking distance of their house. She and her father went to watch the action ."The draught horses the business used to haul bricks died in the fire. I think I was about six."

Ethel was an only child. "My parents were married 10 years when I came along, so I guess they were glad to have me." She remembers riding on the Interurban, a streetcar rail system that people could ride over great distances in West Michigan, going from Grand Rapids all the way to Kalamazoo, Holland and Muskegon. "We rode on a high trestle bridge up over the Grand River, and I was so scared," she said. "I also remember my Father taking me to the Fair, maybe in Comstock Park. We rode the Interurban for that, too."

Mrs. Lou Miller turned 102 on Friday, Jan. 6, 2012. In her mailbox was a letter of congratulations from Willard Scott of the "Today" show. The Terraces staff surprised Lou at lunch by entering the dining room clapping their hands, surrounding her table and singing "Happy Birthday" to her. Lou was deeply moved, but quickly recovered and began showing her usual good humor. In addition to a little cake, the staff gave her a can of beer for a little celebration on her own later. "I think first I'll put on my pajamas, get in bed, and then drink it," she joked.

Lou will tell you that the secret to long life is to always have a positive attitude. "I used to get up in the mornings, jabbering away and singing, and mother would say, 'Who put a nickel in you?' And I'd say, 'I don't know, Ma.' I guess I've always been this way." Her upbeat outlook on life has carried her through many difficult times in her life, including being widowed after 17 years of marriage and working and raising her children on her own, then caring for her dear aging mother. Still, she'll always say, "I guess I've had a good life. You take what the Lord gives you and do the best you can. But I really love it here. This really is the best place for me. Everyone is so friendly and kind and helpful, and they'll do anything for you."


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Former LSSM foster child’s story told in TV movie

by Ben Potter 3. January 2012 12:02

Remember Alex Chivescu, the teen in foster care who starred in our video, It Started With a Letter (You can view this video on our homepage at In order to remain in his high school until he graduated, Alex needed to find a foster home in the district, which he did by writing letters to strangers. In the video Alex jokes that he’s “a viable candidate for the next homeless-to-Harvard’ movie.” He’s now a scholarship student at Harvard – and a TV movie has been made about his experience! Called “Finding a Family,” the movie will air on the Hallmark Movie Channel on Jan. 12.

Heres a little bit about the movie "Finding A Family" from

"Finding a Family" is based on the true story of Alex Chivescu, a ward of the state of Michigan, who knowing he cannot be emancipated from the foster care system, searches for a new mom and dad within the school district that he believes can fulfill his lifelong dream of attending an Ivy League university. 
Alex (Jared Abrahamson) has a passion for learning, instilled by his loving single mother, Ileana (Kim Delaney) who has a doctorate degree and speaks six languages. When Alex was 10-years-old, Ileana had a life-altering car crash that left her struggling with bouts of anger and depression, so much so that a family court judge deemed her unfit to parent Alex further.  

The one constant in his life is school. When Alex’s transportation funding ends, he discovers he’s about to be assigned to a foster family outside the school district that can provide stability and a curriculum that can get him into an Ivy League university. Alex is left with only one option: in order to avoid being assigned outside the high school he loves, he must find a new mom and dad. 

You can learn more about the movie by visiting Below you can watch a trailer for the film.






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MapleCreek gets long-anticipated bus for Christmas

by John Elmore 27. December 2011 14:48

A beautiful new bus arrived at MapleCreek on Friday, Dec. 23, 2011, just in time for Christmas. It was at the top of the 2011 wish list for the senior living community.

The purchase of the bus from Holland Bus was made possible by a most generous family bequest from the late Don and Lovila Behrens, who lived their final years at MapleCreek, and their four daughters and their husbands.

Don had led fund-raising efforts for Lutheran Social Services of Michigan for 22 years, following a 36-year career in advertising. Lovela helped to start the first women’s auxiliary at MapleCreek soon after Lutheran Social Services purchased the property in late 1976. Back then, Don and Lovila would accompany and assist residents on day trips, so providing this bus has meaning for the family. “They were an inspiration,” said Doug Lachniet, director of major gifts and planned giving.

This vehicle will be a huge blessing for residents and staff, offering reliable transportation for shopping trips, outings around town, day trips, and rides between the living centers at MapleCreek. "My mother doesn't drive anymore," said a family member of a MapleCreek resident. "The bus is her link to the world, to her independence." 



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Follow Lakeview's renovation

by Ben Potter 27. December 2011 14:00

We are very excited about our Lakeview's renovation. Lakeview is a skilled nursing and rehabilitation senior living community and it is getting a facelift that is well deserved. Our contractors, Elzinga & Volkers, were nice enough to put together a monthly construction update called "Inside Look". We wanted to share the progress with all you. It's a pretty interesting read and we are quite happy with the process so far. Take a look. We all look forward to the completion of this wonderful undertaking.

Click here to view the Lakeview renovation monthly construction update, "Inside Look"




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