Chesterwye reopens Rhodes house
GRASONVILLE — In February 2016, the former Rhodes house, a residential home for adults with developmental disabilities at Chesterwye, in Grasonville, caught fire and burned down. The fire was discovered around 4 a.m. by resident counselor Shonee Moore, who woke the four residents of the home and supervised their successful escape from the burning building. She also placed a call to the Grasonville Volunteer Fire Department, which arrived in minutes to fight the fire.
Within four hours, American Red Cross volunteers were on the scene finding provisions and a place to stay for the four residents of the home. The fire came as a blizzard arrived in the area later that same day.
A little more than one year later, Thursday, March 30, the ribbon cutting took place with the four previous residents, Brian Matthews, Eddie Murphy, John Simmons and Richard Simmons, opening the new Dr. Harry and Creighton Rhodes House. The Rhodes house is a state-of-the-art facility for people with developmental disabilities and possible physical handicaps.
Chesterwye Executive Director Debra Langseth said, “We built this new house with the future in mind, thinking of those who not only occupy it now, but those who may occupy it in years to come, who may have different disabilities.”
Langseth referred to the extra wide doorways (both interior and exterior), widened hallways, spacious kitchen and bathrooms for those who may be confined to wheelchairs.
Also present for the ribbon cutting were Chesterwye Foundation Chairman Wheeler Baker, County Commissioners Steve Wilson, Mark Anderson, Jim Moran and Jack Wilson, home builder Charlie Thomas, as well as members of the GVFD who were present to fight the fire in February 2016.
The late Dr. Harry and Creighton Rhodes had been very involved in the development of Chesterwye. Dr. Rhodes had previously had been Queen Anne’s County Superintendent of Schools (1951 — 1967) and was keenly aware of facilities needed to care for adults with disabilities, many of those who had no families to care for them. He and Creighton invested much of their time and efforts to seeing that Chesterwye was developed. One of nine residential homes at Chesterwye was named for the Rhodeses before they died. This home is located at the main campus of Chesterwye in Grasonville.
On Thursday, March 30, the ribbon was cut for the new Dr. Harry & Creighton Rhodes House at Chesterwye in Grasonville. Assembled are those who had a role in the house’s rebuilding. From the left, Chesterwye’s Kathy Adams, County Commission President Steve Wilson, Chesterwye counselors Shonee Moore and Dorothea Espil, house resident Brian Matthews, Commissioner Jack Wilson, residents Eddie Murphy, John Simmons, Richard Zaleski, Commissioners Mark Anderson and Jim Moran, home builder Charlie Thomas, Chesterwye Foundation Chairman Wheeler Baker, and Chesterwye Executive Director Debra Langseth. In the background, Grasonville Fire Department members, Captain Troy Tilghman, firefighter Rodney Adams, Assistant Chief Robbie Marsh, Assistant Chief Steve McCombs, and firefighter Alex Cole.
The Dr. Harry and Creighton Rhodes House is state-of-the-art with spacious kitchen, wheel-chair access doorways throughout the house, and extra wide hallways and bathrooms.
Rhodes House resident Brian Matthews, 66, in his specially decorated bedroom with his personal advocate Jan DeBrew. An advocate is someone who sees that the person is taken care of when he has no personal family, as in Brian’s case.