MUSCATINE, Iowa – People from the past and the present were on hand Thursday to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of MCSA. Hundreds of people came to take part in the festivities which included tours of the facility at 312 Iowa Avenue, a video presentation showing the history of the current building, refreshments, speeches, and a flash mob made up of the Muscatine High School chorus.
Residents and former residents joined together in the gymnasium with members of the community as members were exchanged of the 25 years the facility has been in existence. Key among them was Dick Maeglin who was the catalyst for the development of the property to become an institution that could make a difference to those in need.
Also in attendance was Mary Odell, the first executive director of MCSA, former executive directors Mark Patton and Sister Irma Ries, one of the original Board of Trustee members Jim Troson, Muscatine Superintendent of Schools Jerry Riibe, Muscatine County Community Services director Mike Johannsen, current director Charla Schafer, and longtime employees Maggie Curry and Ron Cunningham.
Riibe opened the program by speaking of Maeglin who brought together a group of private citizens to save the old YMCA building and the apartments where seven men lived.
“I remember Mike (Johannsen) asking for help in saving this building where seven men lived,” Maeglin said.
Johannsen credited Maeglin with being the founder, visionary, and perhaps a prophet for his foresight as to what the community could do to help those in need.
“Not everyone has a home that they can come back to,” Johanssen said. “The shelter provides that for many.”
He added that if there was one sign that could be placed by the front door it would be the Golden Rule because that is what the center is all about.
“We had a lot of great ideas 25 years ago and the staff that made it happen but your investment started it all, Johannsen said to Maeglin.
Odell was the original executive director and remembers the first hire was Ron Cunningham who kept the building running for 17 years. Through his tireless efforts, Odell noted, the boiler kept working and the building kept being repaired along the help of residents. She also credited the community for stepping up and rising to the occasion of getting things done.
Memories also flowed from Sister Irma Ries and Mark Patton, both former executive directors.
“People here grow to love each other, the staff, and the community,” Sister Ries said. “And I remember thinking as some would leave us that we were already missing them even before they went out the door.”
Schafer rounded out the evening highlighting the inclusion of the dental, vision, and education services within the center while offering an insight that more programs may be added In the future.
“We will serve where we serve well and we will evolve and change in the areas that we don’t,” Schafer said.