For 40 years the Vernon Area Rehabilitation Center, or VARC, has offered clients with varying abilities the opportunity to receive education and work experiences.
That birthday was celebrated at the Reedsburg division Aug. 28 with an annual company picnic for employees, clients and area civic organizations that included lunch and outdoor activities.
Members of the fire and police departments, as well as the ambulance service were invited to the picnic as a thank-you for their service.
Fireman Brandon Douglas demonstrated a self-contained breathing apparatus, ladders, fire extinguishers and the Jaws of Life.
Police Chief Timothy Becker kept the squad car flashing while demonstrating a ballistic vest and shield.
Sandy Milewski and Mary Shields, advanced emergency medical technicians, explained their work and answered many questions about the interior of the ambulance they displayed.
This was the first year the protective services were guests at the VARC picnic and the experience was awesome, Becker said.
The Reedsburg arm of VARC is a nonprofit providing prevocational training and skill-building services to clients throughout Sauk County including Sauk City, Wisconsin Dells, La Valle, Baraboo, Spring Green and Hillpoint, as wells as Lyndon Station in Juneau County, Cazenovia in Richland County and surrounding rural areas.
While most of the organization’s more than 120 clientele work in the VARC facility 220 Wengel Drive in Reedsburg, others find employment in the community, with job coaches provided as needed.
Work programs are individualized to find the best employment match. Both local businesses and corporations contribute to the work experience, said VARC General Manager Patrick Griffin.
This year’s company picnic was meant to provide an extra thank you to the community for it support now and hopefully “for the next 40 years,” Griffin said.