Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

December 2, 2013

Changes coming for living center

Barry Porterfield
Pauls Valley Democrat — Transition might be the best way to put it as one Garvin County agency takes part in the process for a state facility in Pauls Valley moving toward closure.

During a recent presentation to a PV civic club it was Lisa Driskill who offered a few glimpses of the changes coming for the Garvin County Community Living Center.

Those changes on the way involve the transition of clients at the local Southern Oklahoma Resource Center, better known simply as SORC, into community based care facilities for those with disabilities.

The local Living Center is a part of that process as its committed to taking a handful of clients, 15 to be exact, as they transition from the SORC facility south of Pauls Valley into the community.

Speaking to a group of PV Kiwanis Club members, Driskill said the best part of her job as transition coordinator is the chance to work with some very special people, both at the Living Center and those coming from SORC.

“We have some amazing clients,” she said.

“They're just so happy and have such fulfilled lives.”

With SORC still facing a closure date next spring, Driskill says the center will work with the incoming clients on their housing, transportation and vocational services as they transition out into the community.

The first of the SORC clients, most in wheelchairs, are scheduled to arrive in mid-December with more coming in early January.

“These clients will have a job,” Driskill said. “We want to employ them in businesses here in Pauls Valley.”

According to Driskill, work is well underway to find homes for clients whose families have chosen to keep them in Pauls Valley during the transition from the SORC facility.

The norm will be to place three clients in one local residence with one or two caretakers assigned to them.

Three of the clients are a bit different as their physical conditions are so severe they won't be able to work as round-the-clock care will be needed. It's a situation the Living Center has never experienced before.

“We've never cared for people this severe,” Driskill said.

The condition of these clients calls for such changes as the need to renovate the Living Center's workshop, which will likely include a cost of around $150,000.

“We've never had clients we needed to lift. Now we do.”

As for the employment outlook for clients, the center manages businesses or services where some of them can work here in PV.

Some of those services is familiar to many here, namely in the area of recycling cardboard and other items thanks to the new local recycling program.

“We have the new recycling center in Pauls Valley,” Driskill said.

“We also go around and pick up cardboard,” she said. “We've been doing that for a long time.

“In the years that we've done this about 18 million pounds of cardboard has been kept out of the waste system just here in Pauls Valley.”