Good Morning Fellow VR Ministers of Hope!
Thought we would take a moment this morning and explore some VR history that ties to the GREAT/NCRA /NCATP conference, since it is just around the corner. Annually at the conference typically during the award service is a special event—typically two students attending university programs will receive academic scholarships funded by a scholarship fund named in the honor of a much-endeared former area director T. L. McClellan. The internet, as useful as it is, was not very helpful in helping us explore his history. Thankfully, REACH publications and information of long time but recently retired scholarship coordinator Georgia Gulledge helped with friends fill in some of the undocumented history gaps.
We do know that Mr. McClellan began his long career with VR in 1947 following his service during World War II which is summarized in a REACH article from the September-October 1956 edition included below in its entirety:
We also know that later in his career and until his untimely death October, 1968, he served as an Area (Regional) Director for a relatively short period (1966-1968):
As given in an explanation within one of the REACH issues, having six area directors was a method of succession planning during a period when the Division was rapidly expanded. Standing in the middle was Charles A. Guy who was my Assistant Regional Director of the South Central Region under Larry W. Holland when I began and was my supervisor for six months upon Larry’s retirement around 1995. It was shortly thereafter when the Division consolidated North Central and South Central regions to become the Central region. I also was able to work with C.A. McDaniel in a different capacity over the years when he became a driving evaluator/trainer.
Until his untimely death October 13, 1968, T.L. McClellan spent his entire career in the service of the rehabilitation profession and was involved in establishing and supporting the North Carolina Rehabilitation Association across the state. Mr. McClellan was president-elect of NCRA in 1968; unfortunately, he passed away before assuming Presidency of the association. He was honored in the next REACH article with top billings.
Finally, in a tribute of honor, members of the rehabilitation profession made contributions toward and established a scholarship fund. You can see evidence of this effort below in a flyer similar to the VR version of “Coffee News” but with allusions to “Smoking News” which was very common among many of the staff during that time. Hard to imagine, but it was the practice of many to smoke within their VR offices—this continued until about 1999.
Transitioning to the topic of GREAT/NCRA/NCATP conferences, I have a scan of the 1974 conference program (the oldest one I have access to) and found it interesting in a few ways:
Well team, I hope this article helped you understand more about T.L. McClellan, a great VR Counselor and Leader who made a tremendous impact within his era. I hope documenting this better will help us to appropriately memorialize the person for which the scholarship was set up in his honor in 1968.
For fun, I do hope to work in some photos in the next issue from NCRA conferences from a long gone era and one not too distant if I have such materials available—open to receiving any key photos (with year and name info if possible).
Please remain mindful that every day spent doing your important work presents an opportunity to contribute toward either positively impacting consumers’ lives forever, or presents an opportunity for you to help strengthen our service delivery programs function with improved quality, impact, efficiency, and optimized customer service. As we observe from our predecesors, we can achieve tremendous things together and have a fulfilling, fun, and enjoyable time doing it together as a team focusing on that objective of seeing just how excellently impactful we can be!
With warm regards,