Jim Isgar, far right, state director of the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development, hands over a check from his department for $460,000 to the Independent Life Center on Wednesday at the ILC office on Yampa Avenue. Also pictured, from left, are Pattie Snidow, northwest director of USDA Rural Development; P.J. Howe, area specialist for USDA Rural Development; Bud Nelson, ILC board vice president; Evelyn Tileston, ILC executive director; Sharon Stoddard, ILC president; and Sandra Gardner, ILC board member.

Photo by Shawn McHugh

Jim Isgar, far right, state director of the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development, hands over a check from his department for $460,000 to the Independent Life Center on Wednesday at the ILC office on Yampa Avenue. Also pictured, from left, are Pattie Snidow, northwest director of USDA Rural Development; P.J. Howe, area specialist for USDA Rural Development; Bud Nelson, ILC board vice president; Evelyn Tileston, ILC executive director; Sharon Stoddard, ILC president; and Sandra Gardner, ILC board member.

ILC receives funds for building upgrades

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— For Evelyn Tileston, executive director of the Independent Life Center, the past few months have been a “dream come true.”

Months after purchasing the building located at 438 Yampa Ave., Tileston and the ILC staff received another boost Wednesday morning in the form of a check for $460,000 to start several building renovation projects.

Attending Wednesday’s check presentation at the ILC were Jim Isgar, state director of the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development; Pattie Snidow, northwest director of USDA Rural Development; P.J. Howe, area specialist for USDA Rural Development; ILC board vice president Bud Nelson; ILC president Sharon Stoddard; and ILC board member Sandra Gardner.

The Rural Development department of USDA awarded ILC the money, which is a combination of a loan and grant. The grant totals $91,000, and the 40-year loan totals $369,000.

“We are so happy to have a permanent location so people with disabilities in Northwest Colorado can come and have someone help them with their disability related issues,” Tileston said.

Slated rehabilitation projects include installing new windows and insulation, updating electrical connections and making the building more energy efficient.

The parking lot also is projected to receive a facelift.

“Projects like this are great to see,” Isgar said. “The Life Center is greatly tremendous in the community and takes dedicated people to run.”

Tileston helped found the center in 1997 to provide employment-related services for disabled adults in Craig and Moffat County. She contends that the location of the building in downtown Craig is part of the reason for the ILC’s success.

“This is an ideal location,” Tileston said. “It’s an accessible place that is easy to find.”

Now that ILC has a permanent building, the staff hopes the organization can grow and develop to meet ever-changing community needs.

“We have grown because we have been able to change,” Tileston said.

The Rural Development department of USDA is designed to help fund rural development projects such as farms, hospitals, clinics and schools, Isgar said.

“We are helping to provide the infrastructure to help keep our communities stable and productive,” he said. “This is clearly providing a needed community service.”

The ILC is a nonprofit organization that receives funding through grants from organizations such as Moffat County United Way and the Colorado Health Foundation, as well as through donations.

Longtime Craig resident Stan Sholes, who has Multiple Sclerosis, has been helped by the ILC many times.

The organization most recently helped him install voice recognition software on his computer to ease his typing and word processing demands during day-to-day operations of his business, the Northern Lights Pet Crematory.

Sholes was pleased to hear ILC received money for building renovations.

“It’s a really good service for handicapped people in Moffat County,” he said. “They work a lot with us to keep us active and work with our Medicare and Medicaid. It’s a great organization.”

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