Posted by Bill Neagus on Aug 08, 2018
DAVID CORBETT, brother of a Bruce Corbett, our speaker at our Aug. 7 luncheon. David has developmental disabilities as well as cerebral palsy and lives in a Favarh group home. Bruce talked about the stress for their parents worrying what would become of David after they passed away – until they found Favarh.
ATTENDANCE – There were 18 Farmington Rotarians in attendance.
DUES ARE PAST DUE! – Mary Lou Wadsworth reminded members that club membership dues were due to be paid by July 31, but as of Tuesday, Aug. 7, only 20 members had paid. If you haven’t already, please pay your dues via cash, check or credit card.
BIRTHDAYS – Augusto Russell will celebrate his birthday on Sunday, Aug. 12.
ANNIVERSARIES – Wink and Kerry Tharpe will celebrate their 21st wedding anniversary on Thursday, Aug. 9.
RAFFLE – Bob Festa had the winning ticket, but pulled the queen of diamonds from the deck of playing cards instead of the ace of spades and therefore lost the $76 pot.
HAPPY BUCKS – Donations were made in honor of our speaker (Bruce Corbett, brother of a Favarh group-home resident); Favarh – The Arc of Farmington Valley; Mary Lou Wadsworth’s becoming a full-time one-on-one paraprofessional for a special needs child in the Canton Public School system; for the 18-members who attended; for the Farmington Rotary’s social conducted a week ago; for Nick Severino’s upcoming vacation in Rhode Island; for the Red Sox; for a fundraiser Phil Chabot is hosting 6 - 8 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 9, at Cugino's for his State Senate campaign; and for the following birthdays this week of children of members – Immediate Past-President Ron Llewellyn’s son, Wink Tharpe’s son, and Brian F.X. Connolly’s daughter.
SPEAKER – Bruce Corbett told us what it was like to grow up with a younger brother with developmental disabilities – and what it was like for his parents who, like all parents of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities, worried about what would happen to their child once they passed away.
Bruce explained that he was born in 1940 and had polio. Although there are no current outward signs of the effect of the disease on Bruce now, he noted that there was an iron lung outside his hospital room, “just in case” he needed it to breathe. It was a very stressful situation for his parents, but their stress got worse in 1947 when his brother David was born with developmental disabilities coupled with cerebral palsy.
Because of David’s severe limitations he couldn’t do things other children could, so Bruce didn’t have much of a relationship with his brother growing up. However, his parents valiantly searched for a “miracle doctor” who could help David, a doctor who was never found.
Children with David’s issues weren’t sent to regular school in those days, Bruce explained, so David went to school in a church basement. His parents, meanwhile, moved the family from Pennsylvania to Bridgeport, Conn., in the hopes that David could eventually work in a “sheltered workshop” at the Kennedy Center in that city.
David ultimately did work at the Kennedy Center, but as Bruce grew, became a teacher in the Harwinton-Burlington school system, got married and moved to Avon, his parents continued to worry about what would eventually happen to David.
Their mother was the first to pass and Bruce built an addition to his own home in Avon for his father and David to live in. While there, his father discovered Favarh – The Arc of the Farmington Valley, a nonprofit that supports people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. He got David involved in one of Favarh’s Day Services, a program where people with intellectual and developmental disabilities who have medical or physical issues or are retired meet daily to recreate and integrate with the overall community.
The connection with Favarh steadily grew and David ultimately moved to Alleluia House, one of Favarh’s eight group homes. He still lives there today.
Bruce and David’s parents have since passed away, their mother first and then their father, But their father in particular passed away knowing that David has a good home with Favarh.