John Severtson’s 31 years of bringing “comfort, joy, security and hope to countless people” was celebrated Saturday at Opportunity Village. Severtson was honored as he steps down as Chief Executive Officer at the Village at the end of the month.
“It has been the greatest privilege, a great blessing,” Severtson told hundreds gathered for his retirement open house. “Village is the appropriate word for this caring community. We are here to celebrate the family we are part of.”
Severtson’s remarks followed a special program which included remarks by a U.S. Senator, state elected officials, a former Opportunity Village CEO, colleagues and a long time resident.
“Whenever we make policy, we need to think like John and the folks at Opportunity Village,” said U.S. Senator Charles Grassley in a taped video message shared at the event. “I have been inspired by John and learned that disabilities are not vanilla. They are like Baskin-Robbins-- with lots of flavors.”
State Senator Amanda Ragan and State Representative Linda Upmeyer echoed Grassley’s comments, thanking him for his ideas, input and stewardship for the disabled. They presented him with a framed certificate of recognition.
Village Board President Don Berge also presented Severtson with a plaque which will now identify the meeting room at the east entrance of the Kinney-Lindstrom Center as the Severtson Forum. The room has been known as the Forum and as the building’s largest meeting room it is used for all sorts of classes and meetings, funerals and receptions. The naming of the room honors John, as well as his father, the late Rev. Murley Severtson. Murley was instrumental in the founding of the Village and served on its board of directors.
In thanking the audience Saturday, Severtson shared the story of his father’s trip to Bethel, Germany, where he visited the Bethel Institution, founded in 1867 as a hospital for the - Read More Via e-Edition