Visitors gather inside Horizons Specialty Services' new Craig office at 439 Breeze St. on Wednesday at its open house. The agency lost its former location in the Country Mall when the building caught fire Nov. 25, 2007.

Photo by Hans Hallgren

Visitors gather inside Horizons Specialty Services' new Craig office at 439 Breeze St. on Wednesday at its open house. The agency lost its former location in the Country Mall when the building caught fire Nov. 25, 2007.

Moving forward

Horizons Specialized Services open house reveals new Craig offices

— Michael Toothaker, Horizons Specialized Services adult community coordinator for Moffat County, looked around his new office Wednesday afternoon.

From his point of view, the agency's new offices - located in the first floor of the Colorado West Regional Mental Health Center, 439 Breeze St. - is an upgrade to Horizons' former location in the Country Mall.

"This provides us with more confidential office space," he said.

Officials from Horizons, a nonprofit group serving people with developmental disabilities, began looking at this space last year, Toothaker said.

"We thought we were planning ahead," said Susan Mizen, Horizons Specialized Services executive director.

As it turned out, plans to change couldn't have come sooner.

A fire consumed the Country Mall on Nov. 25, 2007, displacing Horizons and other organizations. Client records, birth certificates, Social Security cards and other documents were lost in the blaze, Toothaker said.

Horizons temporarily relocated to a space provided by a local clinic and another building the agency uses on Breeze Street.

Still, the fire produced one positive development: It sped up the process of moving the nonprofit to its new location.

"It was really the timing that changed dramatically," Mizen said.

Horizons Craig's office formally opened its doors to the public Wednesday afternoon during an open house, showcasing its new location.

The event was a means of thanking businesses, agencies and individuals who helped Horizons during the relocation process, Mizen said, including those who gave the agency financial support.

Insurance covered some of the loss of the agency's former offices, she said.

But, Mizen said, coverage "wasn't quite enough to cover the extensive loss we experienced."

The El Pomar Foundation, a state granting organization, helped offset those uncovered costs by giving Horizons a $5,000 matching grant.

"That : contribution was the biggest contribution we received," Mizen said, adding that the El Pomar Northwest Regional Council and state Rep. Al White recommended Horizons for the grant.

Help also came from more local sources.

Moffat County United Way helped replace clients' personal belongings located in the Country Mall offices, Mizen said.

Other contributions came from the Thunder Rolls Bowling Center and the Bureau of Land Management. Individual donors also contributed, including Lisa Hillewaert, Chuck and Patricia Stauffer, Brandon and Erica Stewart, Saed Tayyara, Maxine Turner, Don and Marianna Rice, Sidney and Thalla Wheelock and Elna Yoast.

Horizons received about $12,000 in funds and other donations including the El Pomar grant.

The agency began relocating to its new office in January and finished the move in February.

Still, a public open house had to wait while the agency settled into the new location and continued providing services for more than 30 clients.

"We wanted to get through the winter," Toothaker said. "It took a while to get everything finalized."

When Horizons did host the open house, the offices' new interior received approval from Dan Rice, who has been a Horizons client for 14 years.

"It's really nice," he said. "I just love the new look of it."

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