S.O.A.R. draws crowd for grand opening
By Paul McManis
Commoner Journal staff writer
HAMDEN — Individuals with developmental disabilities can now soar like eagles after a grand opening ceremony was held at Southern Ohio Adventures Recreation Monday night.
S.O.A.R., whose headquarters is located at 112 S. Main St., Hamden, is an organization that offers various programs to help people with developmental disabilities find their right to live normal lives. Although the facility has already been operating since the end of last year, Monday the organization held its official grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Elected officials, including 94th District Ohio House Rep. Debbie Phillips (D-Athens), Hamden Mayor Gary Eberts and Vinton County Auditor Cindy Owings, were among those who came to celebrate the opening of the facility.
Tami Bay, the facility’s co-owner, said S.O.A.R. and its operation represent freedom for those who have disabilities and will offer them the opportunity to make life-changing choices.
“We wanted them to have a choice when it came to their every day lives, just as we do,” Bay said. “S.O.A.R. doesn’t belong to us. It belongs to them.”
Eberts told those in attendance that Hamden can benefit from the addition of the organization in the community, as it not only brings jobs or a place to help developmentally disabled individuals, but it brings a family environment that can prove beneficial to the village.
“It’s like a family here. I think that’s what we need in a small town like this,” Eberts said. “I pray that it will take off and grow.”
Phillips said she has worked on issues for those with disabilities in the past and has seen change while in office. She said the facility’s opening marked another milestone, as progress continues to be made to offer developmentally disabled individuals more freedoms.
She said the facility not only provides hope for disabled individuals who are associated with the programs of the facility, but also to the overall community and those who worked to bring the organization to life.
“I think this is a very exciting day for Vinton County and for Hamden,” Phillips said. “Today I just want to say congratulations. Great work.”
The facility is open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, and will be open occasionally in the evenings for special activities.
For more information about how to volunteer or interest in using the services offered by S.O.A.R., contact Bay at 740-357-3155.