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Board of Developmental Disabilities Celebrates 50th Year

By Kelly Stoble, WMFD
Published Thursday, October 26, 2017

The Richland County Board of Developmental Disabilities celebrated its 50th anniversary on Wednesday.

Their very first board meeting was held on October 25th, 1967.

The Ohio General Assembly created Ohio's 88 county boards of mental retardation (a term removed in 2009) in 1967. The boards were intended to provide services and support for people with developmental disabilities, as well as further the training and education of professionals in the field.

The first board members to join were: Dr. Lawrence Thompson, chairman; Warren Rupp, vice-chairman; Dr. Gene DeLapa, treasurer; Zorayda Busson, secretary; Dr. Harold J. King, David Ott, and Don Finefrock. This board took over operations of Richland Newhope.

In 1980, an amended Senate Bill mandated that at least three board members must have a family member eligible for board services.

The current board members are Nick Gesouras, president; Steve Swank, vice-president; Richard Otto, secretary; Geneva Cummins, Margaret Davis, Virginia Harmon, and Michael Howard.

Richland Newhope supported over 1,700 individuals through early intervention, preschool, adult, residential, therapy, transportation, and other support programs in 2016 alone.

This article has been reproduced for educational purposes only and appeared on WMFD. The original story can be found at:

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