The Gary ‘he used to be’

Gary Olson, 60, grew up on a farm in western Wisconsin in the 1970s, where he was close to his father, drove tractors and did chores as a teenager. Then, his dad died. Gary, who has a disability, went to live in several group homes.

“Dad made Gary do everything that the rest of us did,” said Debbie Gerhardt, Gary’s sister. He attended other day programs, but his most recent provider closed, which Gerhardt calls a “blessing in disguise.” This led him to ProAct in Hudson.

“We’ve seen a dramatic change in Gary,” she said.

“He’s more verbal . . . much better, more the brother he used to be.” ProAct offers outing opportunities every day, social interaction and encouragement to be independent. Direct service professional Tammy Borchardt said Olson likes to get going, be on the move and participate in community activities.

Olson’s mother, La Rayne, said there’s more interaction at ProAct and things to do. She said he’s become more open and himself. Site Coordinator Margaret Christensen said ProAct offers a lot of stimulation and experiences. “He is a sweet, sweet soul.”

Debbie’s brother, Gary, has experienced a change in his life since he started attending ProAct’s program a few months ago in Hudson, Wis. Gary has a disability.