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DEC Annual Report 2016

“Hey, before you abuse, criticize and accuse, walk a mile in my shoes.”

Joe South


Ian Joshua Miller was killed in a sledding accident while on a trip with his Boy Scout troop in January 2010.  He was just 12 years old.

At the hospital, ER doctors found a folded piece of paper inside Ian’s snow boot. On it was written a verse from the Bible: Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

The passage found inside the young boy’s boot, which speaks to the perseverance we all need to get us through the trials we inevitably face throughout our lifetime, inspired the founding of Ian’s Boots: A Mission For Soles. From tragedy came a charity, whose mission is to spread the good news of Ian’s faith by providing shoes and winter boots to those in our midst facing serious economic trials in their lives and unable to afford footwear for themselves or their families.

DEC program specialist Sally Harpold, who has supported the mission of Ian’s Boots since its founding, brought the community project to the attention of her colleagues at the Pottstown Training Center. For the past four years, teams of individuals who rely on DEC for tailored therapies, skills and vocational training plus a wide range of innovative programs and services, visit the charity’s “Shoebox.” There they help clean and process shoes, boots, slippers, socks and other footwear that have been donated by manufacturers and retailers. Inside each of the donated items, which are both distributed locally and shipped to where they are needed, is tucked a copy of the verse that the doctors found in “Ian’s Boot.”

Explains Pottstown facility director Barbara Kennedy: “We aggressively seek out opportunities available to the men and women at our training center which enable them to see first-hand that there are people in our community who have greater needs than they themselves. Our staff teaches them that instead of focusing on the negatives and the limitations in their own lives, it is far more productive and satisfying to give of themselves so that others may persevere.”

We may practice different religions, speak different languages, have different colored skin. But we all belong to one race. The human race. Or as the mission of Ian’s Boots might suggest, when you get down to it, we are all intrinsically connected to one another as “sole” brothers.





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