CONSTRUCTION has finished on the latest Sunraysia Residential Services (SRS) accommodation complex on San Mateo Avenue.
It has been named the Dan Complex, honouring longtime SRS employee and board member Dan Doherty, who died in 2014.
Dan started at SRS in 1986 and worked as the respite supervisor at the McKay Place house.
After retiring in 1998, he became a board member in 2001 and held the position of volunteer treasurer for 12 years.
Patricia Leggett and Dale Doherty, Dan’s children, said their father would be proud of the new complex.
Ms Leggett said Dan was a go-getter who had an influence on many.
“There was no such thing as ‘we can’t’ − (it was) we’ll get around it, we’ll do it, we’ll achieve it,” she said.
Dan also served as an inspiration for his own family to continue his work.
“The influence he’s had on the whole family around disability and caring and nursing has just been phenomenal, to the point where not only his children but his grandchildren and great grandchildren are following in his footsteps,” Ms Leggett said.
“He lived and breathed − that’s about the truth of it − for the disabled and his love for the work he was doing and for the people.”
Ms Luehman said Dan left an impact with those who had the opportunity to work for him.
She said he offered guidance and drive, with a “you can do it” attitude.
“Dan was just a most amazing person for me over my career,” she said.
“I’m really, really proud and I know he would love this and he’d be so chuffed to see what it looks like and what we’re doing for people with disabilities because he was so committed.”
Dan’s legacy can be seen in the latest accommodation.
The Dan complex includes four units − two single units, a two-person unit and a three bedroom catering for two residents and one staff member.
Ms Luehman said the focus of the accommodation wasn’t high density and was about building homes that people want to live in.
“He really was before his time in ensuring it was nowhere like an institution,” Ms Luehman said.
“That’s one of the things I’ve carried forward, to never ever build something that looks like an institution.
“This has got all the aids and equipment for people with disabilities but you won’t see them unless I point them out to you − and we don’t actually put the rails in or the hoists in until a person requires it.”
SRS is a not for profit organisation that doesn’t receive government funding.
Ms Luehman said SRS tries to build a complex for people with disabilities each year, supported by funding generated by the community.
Families are also involved in the process and are encouraged to make the accommodation as homely and welcoming as possible.
“People get really excited when we start to build,” she said.
“We build with a purpose for the people that we know that are moving in.
“For example we have a young person moving in here and you can see we’ve got a swing being put into the yard, there’s a bubble fountain and all of the things that would make his life as good as it possibly can be.
“He’s moving away from his grandparents who have cared for him since he was a baby, so it’s a big move.
“We try to bring the families along on the journey so they have a lot to do with how we build and how it looks like, so it does suit them.”
The new complex was a two-year process from planning through to completion of the build.
It was expected the first residents will move in next month.
SRS is also set for an October start on its next accommodation project. That will be on Deakin Avenue.
ABOVE: Patricia Leggett, left, with brother Dale Doherty were joined by SRS CEO Marian Luehman, right, for a tour of the newly-opened ‘Dan Complex’.