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Echoing Hills’ 50th Anniversary Celebration at our Central Ohio Location.


You create a team, you plan, you have a meeting, join forces, you have another meeting, (did I mention that you meet, a lot)? Then you get to work on what are to be amazing events honoring special individuals who hold a place in so many hearts, both in the community and among those closest to Echoing Hills.


50 years ago, Cordell Brown listened to the call of God on his life and started out on a journey that has span five decades. Camp Echoing Hills – a place where individuals with disabilities not only find independence, choices, dignity and friends, they also get the opportunity to experience Jesus Christ. For some, it is the first time they heard of God’s amazing love. Many campers have given their lives to Jesus on Cross Hill and have grown their Christian walk year after year at camp. Amazing volunteers come back to camp for many years because their hearts are forever changed by serving campers with disabilities. What has grown from Camp Echoing Hills can only be described as a divine plan set into motion and blessed by God.


You might not know that Echoing Hills is comprised of camp, group living locations, individual homes, Community Connections day program, two educational programs and Echoing Hills Ghana, West Africa. In our mission statement, one of the highlights is revolutionizing lives of those with disabilities, and that is spot on! These individuals now have a place to live where they are treated with dignity and love. They have choices in their lives. They attend school at our echoingU locations. They go to work, make products they can be proud of and earn a paycheck. All of this…that’s Echoing Hills!


So, we celebrated at our Coshocton County location with more than 300 guests in attendance, President and CEO, Buddy Busch so perfectly told the story of Echoing Hills sometimes through tears while conveying the feelings of the individuals whose lives have been forever changed by living, learning, growing and experiencing Echoing Hills first hand.


Many were honored during the 50th anniversary event. Cordell Brown was honored by Echoing Hills as Founder and faithful servant and for staying true to the scriptures and always living a life that edifies Christ! Cordell honored his wife and partner in the journey, Jane Brown. He also thanked God for his children and grandchildren. Both Cordell and Buddy were honored by our partners in Ghana, West Africa.


There were many of our partners from Ghana present at the event, including the Chief and Queen Mother. The value of their commitment and giving is immeasurable. In a culture where those with disabilities might not survive, this amazing group is there to make sure they not only survive, but thrive and know the love of Christ.


Many dignitaries lined the stage to present awards honoring Echoing Hills for 50 years of service and for the positive impact on the community. Members of Echoing Hills Board and staff were on hand to join us in celebration.


We shared many videos that beautiful evening of July 30th.  Joni Eareckson Tada spoke via video about her relationship and partnership with Echoing Hills and how it has changed the lives of so many. Another video described how blessed one of the individuals who lives with us felt when she went from a longtime camper to living with us permanently. It is her home. She loves those around her as family and is grateful for having a free and beautiful life.


We also heard from two parents whose children’s lives have been changed, enriched and strengthened by the confidence they’ve gained from living at Echoing Hills. And we heard about the camper, who at 17 attended camp for the very first time and how his life has changed since his first week at camp. He had never been swimming because of a fear of water, but he took the plunge and loved it. His life now is full of confidence, swimming, relationship building and new found friendships…all from just ONE life changing week at camp!


Did I mention our camp staff is amazing, loving, caring, strong, compassionate and irreplaceable! They are all that and then some. Backed up by our awesome volunteers, they have an unstoppable impact on the lives of many. Go camp team!


Midway through the evening, we were joined by the campers and many of the individuals who live with us. You know you have a great leader when campers interact with him during the evening and laugh about throwing him in the pool! You also know you have great leadership when he is in attendance of as many events and celebrations, awards and dinners as humanly possible. That’s why the campers and those who live with us are so comfortable around him. Go Buddy!


What can I say about Doug Mazza. Thank you for your moving words, positive outlook, amazing faith and “heart wide open” honesty. Doug knows firsthand about disabilities, heartbreak, miracles and enduring love. He is a father who never gave up, but instead, gave it over to God. Thank you for sharing with us your journey, your deep devotion, and your amazing wisdom and mentoring skills. Your faithful commitment to Echoing Hills is priceless.


Buddy closed the evening with prayer. The worship team led us in song and worship. We left that night better people for opening our hearts to the fact that individuals with disabilities need each one of us in one way or another, ensuring that Echoing Hills continues the journey for another 50 years and beyond.


It truly was…an evening to remember!


Check out our blog next Thursday to read about our 50th event in Athens!




Love. Learn. Worship.

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