Founders & Board Members

On January 14, 20022 the Staying Put board bids 'adieu' and a big THANK YOU to 3-year esteemed member, Lori Peterson.

During that time not only was her professional expertise utilized via advice & input, but also … Lori’s considerable skill in grant-writing led to important awards, contributing to pivotal growth in 2021.

Lori, we are so grateful for the generous contribution of your time, talent, and bright presence on our team …. we will miss you !!

By:  Margy Balwierz

Our close friend and his mother living down the road, both highly intelligent, independent characters, came to a time of crisis in their lives. It was a difficult and uncomfortable role reversal for them as she quickly went from a pillar of strength to needing help and support. Although we were close friends, it was hard to give or offer help - neither would tolerate outside involvement. They struggled righteously, yet quickly both passed away. 

So when I heard about Staying Put New Canaan, Connecticut, myself a senior citizen, I thought about how would I handle losing independence. 

I had been a hospice volunteer for a dozen years and knew that good volunteer organizations worked well at improving the lives of many. I inquired at the County ADRC if they might want to start something like Staying Put. Because their workload was full, they encouraged me to organize such a program, assuring me it was a good idea. It seemed like a small but significant way to help people and to be an asset to the community. 

There were dozens of steps before any service could begin, including many meetings, recruiting of friends, and a couple of crucial articles by Ina Murray (the “Old Cow Belle”) in the Pierce County Herald explaining our intentions. After two years of leg work and legal action we were established as a Non Profit Organization. 

Kudus to Karen Kruppa of Interfaith of Polk County who is a giant of a mentor. She offered substantial support for how to set up and run our organization. Kathy Nyeggen was eager to serve seniors, and took on the Volunteer Coordinator position as if it was invented for her. Attorney Jack Kenefick added critical legal counsel. Most of the people, those building blocks, are still involved in Staying Put. 

Anecdote: I received a phone call in response to one of Ina’ Murray’s articles came from an 85 year old woman living with her 92-year-old husband. She said “Staying Put is a great idea and maybe someday we might need a bit of help.” 

The biggest roadblock is the need always seems to be for “someone else.” Even though they are doing a great deal in caring for themselves and their loved ones, they will benefit from a little help to make their lives easier, to get some respite time for themselves, to have help with transportation or other services that Staying Put can provide.

Staying Put’s strength is the caring people who take interest and take action. They make easier possible. 

Staying Put has grown through thoughtful guidance and caring work of its Board and Volunteers who are the heartbeat of the organization. We are supported by endowments from members of our community and from regional businesses. I foresee the organization carrying on its work indefinitely. With creative and sustaining services Staying Put has the “wheels” to move forward. 

It's hard to find the words to thank them ...

Rich O'Connell and Diane Huebel have served Spring Valley Seniors Staying Put for 6 years, in many various volunteer roles, and as board members (Rich, President/3 years, Diane Secretary/1 year), with Diane as a p/t employee May of 2020 through Dec. 2021.

Both have 'retired' from their posts, though remain active as volunteers in the capacity of handling the occasional project and keeping a watchful eye on certain operational aspects of the organization that they themselves watched over and nurtured.

These two have represented an ever-present guiding light to - at first - a fledgling new organization finding its wings, and later the wind beneath those wings.

They've had an enormous impact in laying the foundation, maintaining the agency's vitality, and always keeping the heart of Staying Put at front and center.

A heart-felt THANK YOU, Diane and Rich.

In the words of Jan Hatling....

When my friend Margy Balwierz asked me to help her start Spring Valley Seniors Staying Put I was reluctant at first because I'm not a joiner and tend toward shyness. I knew it was a great idea, however, because I worked at a neighbor-hood nurse/volunteer organization in the past called, The Healthy Seniors Project, and saw firsthand how a little bit of support can make a big difference in the health and well-being of seniors. But what did I know about starting a program? Nothing! But I sure did learn, along with a dedicated group of volunteers.
On the Staying Put Board my first job was the treasurer. I had to learn about payroll and taxes which is funny because I’ve never balanced my own checkbook! Later I worked with Margy writing grants and I ended my term as President. I learned many new skills and I met and worked with a lot of really nice people.
As a senior myself now I feel grateful that Spring Valley has this organi-zation. Staying Put with the help of volunteers and community support will be there to lend a helping hand as we age in our own homes and community. I’m very proud to have been a part to help get it started.

(715) 778-5800