Staff photo by Carol Keefer
DR. ROBERT H. Schuller (left), senior pastor of the Crystal Cathedral, was in Camp Verde on Saturday for the dedication of four new homes at Rainbow Acres. Right is Rainbow Acres President the Rev. Gary Wagner.
Over $3.75 million has been raised to replace older mobile-home housing with permanent residences and to provide infrastructure improvements on the large campus in Middle Verde.
Pete Sesow, Pearl Lansing, Claudia Ault, and Wil Wheaton told the large audience of well wishers about the four new homes — the Hoover House, the Koinonia House, the Evergreen House and the Agape House – acknowledging the many contributors that made them a reality. The Saturday afternoon event was held inside a special events tent on Rainbow’s grounds.
Ault is chair of the capital campaign, Sesow is board of trustees chair, Lansing is secretary and Wheaton is chair emeritus.
“It’s probably the largest event in the history of Rainbow Acres,” noted emcee John Wade, who started the program by recognizing Rainbow’s founders, Ralph and Marilyn Showers, sitting in the audience.
A long list of notables was on hand to speak or perform, including, Dr. Robert H. Schuller, Rainbow Acres President the Rev. Gary Wagner, state Rep. Tom O’Halleran, and “ranchers” Jack Wadleigh and Bill Downs, who read special greetings. Jim Hukill, co-founder of ELEOS, the Care Network, sang and the Ranchers Choir, as well as the First Institutional Baptist Choir, provided music throughout the day. Several ministers also participated in the special program.
Gov. Janet Napolitano sent a proclamation, read by her representative, naming the special day, Nov. 1, 2003, as “Rainbow Acres Day.”
Schuller, the renowned Crystal Cathedral clergyman and best selling author, acted as keynote speaker, telling the large crowd that it was easy to say “yes” to this invitation, because of Rainbow’s special work.
“I’m looking at God now. I see him in your eyes” he told the crowd, while recounting his recent worldwide trip that included a visit to Rome during the beautification of his friend, Mother Teresa. Mother Teresa, now deceased, was well known for her work with those less fortunate and an ability to see God in their faces.
The longtime Camp Verde institute, Rainbow Acres, founded in 1974, has served 350 adults with developmental disabilities. Wagner is its third president. The large campus provides an environment where the ranchers are able to lead a fulfilling life steeped with meaning, purpose, dignity and spiritual strength.