CLEC Celebrates 50 years of helping others

By Aaron Jahn,

Community Living Essex County celebrated their 50th Anniversary at a gala event on September 16 and the Ciocciaro Club in Windsor.

The event was hosted by local AM800 and CTV2 personality Armand “Arms” Bumanlag who when asked to host by CLEC to be there, answered with a resounding “absolutely.”   Bumanlag’s family has been affected by the work of Community Living for many years, due to his brother who has Autism.

“My family has worked with Community Living Windsor for many years,” said Bumanlag.  “My brother Adam, who is 24 and is autistic, was a client of Community Living for many years.  They are about inspiring people to get involved and volunteer.”

Nancy Welsh and Larry Shanahan were recognized for the work their parents performed in founding the Sun Parlor School

Founded originally by a group of families as the Sun Parlor School in Essex, Community Living Essex County has been helping people with intellectual disabilities become integral members of their community, through job training and placement and fostering understanding of their needs with the members of the community at large.

One such member is Brian Wiedekehr, a long time fixture in the Town of Essex; Wiedekehr recently moved to Amherstburg to be closer to his family. CLEC was a large factor in getting him set up in his new home.

“Community Living helped me a lot when I moved,” said Wiedekehr.  “They also helped me get to know people and help in the community.”

Wiedekehr was also proud of two big parts of his life, his Godson Bryceson and his work with the Food and Fellowship Mission.

“I love my Godson, he’s a lot of work, but when his mom asked me to do it, I said ‘yes’ right away,” Wiedekehr said.  “In Amherstburg, it’s about people helping people.  Just like Tim (McCallister) says all the time helping people is the best thing you can do.”

Many local politicians were also in attendance, including County Warden and Mayor of Lakeshore Tom Bain who noted the presence that CLEC had in each Community in Essex County.

Community Living is certainly important for all of Essex County,” said Bain.  “You see their volunteers across the County.  I am proud to have them in our communities.”

Another client of CLEC, Paul Lassaline spoke of the family-like atmosphere surrounding their work.

“The Amherstburg Association has always been like a family to me”, said Lassaline.  “They have always made me feel welcome.”

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