Late Chattanooga Civitan member Douglas Brady was honored Friday afternoon at the Siskin Children's Institute. Plaques were placed in his memory outside of classrooms at the institute that Civitan donations helped complete.
Mr. Brady is survived by his wife, Peggy Brady, who was presented with a gift from Siskin President John Fairmond.
President Fairmond also described the history of the institute to the club. He said over 50 years ago, the organization was started by brothers Mose and Garrison Siskin.
He said Garrison Siskin had severely injured his leg and faced amputation. However, Mr. Siskin prayed, "God if you save my leg, I will dedicate my life to helping others." His leg ended up healing, and his brother joined his cause saying, "If it's your promise, it's my promise, and we will keep it together."
President Fairmond said, "Although very conservative in their roots, they had great compassion."
He described their time period, saying, "This is a time when children with special needs were not integrated into our society at all. A lot of times, they would be sent to a state institution."
The brothers established the Siskin Foundation in 1950, and within 10 years, the center was providing services such as physical therapy and speech therapy.
The center also featured a preschool for children with special needs at a time before laws were passed to guarantee all children an education.
President Fairmond said on Friday, "There are about 540 developmental pediatricians in the entire United States of America. We have three of them."
He also said, "I'm very proud to say we're serving hundreds of children at their homes."
And, he said, "The Siskin model is spreading." Representatives from countries such as New Zealand and Spain have come to the institute hoping to create similar centers in their home countries.
In this area, he said, "We've gone very much from a Chattanooga organization into a regional organization."