Celebrating 40 Years in Colorado Springs
Mosaic in Colorado Springs recently celebrated its 40th Anniversary of services. It was the first location outside of Nebraska for Mosaic. Here’s a story from our Centennial book, “The Reason We Exist: Stories of Mosaic’s Call to Serve,” giving a little insight into how those services began.
For years, until his death at age 97 in 2008, J. Don Haney volunteered every week at Mosaic in Colorado Springs. He once said he did it for two reasons: “One is I’m just so grateful to Mosaic and the other is I simply enjoy coming here.”
Don and Gratia Belle Haney were surprised on May 5,1953, when their sixth child, Stephen, was born with an intellectual disability. For several years, the couple raised ‘Stevie’ alongside the other children. Don said it was a marvel to watch his wife handle it all.
“The biggest challenge was to take care of him to be as normal as possible,” Haney said in a 2008 interview. “I never understood how my darling wife could manage all of our children.” After years of care and increasing needs, the Haneys decided they needed another level of care and placed Stephen in a state institution in the Denver area.
The Haneys made routine trips to visit Stephen. Jeff Haney, Stephen’s brother, said he remembered how painful it was for his dad to say good-bye after each visit. Questions and concerns of quality of care also played a role.
As a result, Don began advocating for services in Colorado Springs. He helped found the Pike’s Peak Association for Retarded Children (present day ARC). When Stephen was in his 20s, the Haney’s along with the ARC began a nationwide search for help that would allow them to bring Stephen closer to home.
“We simply didn’t like the fact that he was so far from home,” Don said. “We wanted to be with him a lot more.”
They contacted Mosaic legacy organization Martin Luther Homes, hoping to bring community-based care options to the state. The Haneys also visited Nebraska, the only state where Martin Luther Homes operated community-based programs, to learn more about the services.
MLH opened a home in Colorado Springs in 1979. Jeff noticed an immediate change in the level of care his brother received in this new setting.
“It was like night and day. (Mosaic staff) were just so connected, knew how to motivate and when to stay out of the way,” he said. “Personally, I don’t think he (otherwise) would have lived as long as he did.”
Stephen Haney died on Oct. 14, 2007 from pneumonia-related complications. He was 54.
“The day before he died, I was there with my dad and we were taking turns being with him,” Jeff said. “People were streaming into the room, clients, staff, former staff. I was absolutely blown away by the dozens of people who came through, particularly a young couple who were staff members who met because of him and had him in their wedding.”
“It was an unhappy thing to find we had a retarded son, but we went ahead as normal as far as raising him,” Don said. “In the end it turned out to be … a grand experience.”