EATON — The new Wagner Center, home of L&M Products, opened its doors to the community on Tuesday, July 26, for a special ribbon cutting ceremony
The event was held in conjunction with the Preble County Chamber of Commerce.
L&M has completed its move into what was the former Eaton Church of the Brethren, located beside McDonald’s at 1407 N. Barron Street. The new location has been dubbed The Wagner Center in honor of Doris Wagner.
According to officials, before her death in 2012, Wagner spent time daily with individuals at the L&M facility. She came in to spend time with her grandson, but always made time for everyone else. Known to most as “Grandma,” she always had plenty of love, words of encouragement and hugs for those attending L&M, including staff members.
“She always had a hug,” L&M Executive Director Terry Stevens said. Whenever anyone was having a bad day, “All she had to do was smile and say ‘how’re you doing today, babe?’”
Just as Wagner assisted her grandson with integration into different activities and groups within L&M, Stevens says the new facility was purchased to create more integration opportunities. Plans call for the new facility to welcome community members into the new building for meetings, activities and events. This will aid in the integration of people into the community, give them life experiences and help teach skills.
Prior to July 1, 2014, L&M Products was the Adult Services Division for the Preble County Board of DD. Due to regulation changes, the members of both the L&M Products board and the Preble County Board of DD made the decision to separate the two agencies. L&M Products is now an independent provider of services for individuals with disabilities, including day services, transportation, home personal care and employment support.
The former location was too big a facility for L&M, according to Stevens, who said the old building no longer met the needs of the business as the industry turned toward the goal of community integration.
“This is what we’re going to be when we grow up,” Stevens said of the changing role of L&M Products. ” We want the community to see what we see — these people, they bring smiles to your face.”
Jason Moles, Board Chair for the Chamber of Commerce, welcomed everyone to the ribbon cutting and open house. As a Henny Penny executive, Moles said he knows firsthand the value L&M brings to the community as a whole.
“It’s amazing to into this facility and see the possibilities and opportunities here,” Moles said.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @emowen_RH.