A Tribute to Barbara Harper

While she’s never technically been an employee here at the Butler Family of Dealerships, she is a spectacularly BarbaraFBwonderful woman that has influenced our dealership immensely.
Her husband worked at Butler for years in the 80’s, her son, Les, has worked in administration for over 20 years and we are honored to have five Living Opportunity employees because of her! Who is this fabulous lady? Her name is Barbara Harper and she’s just “wonderful!”
So why are we awe struck? Barbara’s story begins as the mother of four sons, one – Charlie – who was born with Down ’s syndrome in 1949.
At that time, Dr. Downs had not discovered “Down’s Syndrome” and the doctors told Barbara and Bill that their son Charlie was a “Mongolian Idiot” and that he wouldn’t live past one year old. If he did, he would be a “crib vegetable” and they instructed her to leave him in an institution and forget him. Barbara vehemently cried NO! She would raise him until she was no longer able. Charlie moved out to a group home when he was 28 and lived a wonderful, full life until he died from complications of Alzheimer’s at the age of 63.
Barbara and her husband Bill became founding board members of Living Opportunities, Inc. in Medford. Living Opportunities was established in 1974 to support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities as they learn to live, work, and play in the community.
LivingoppBarbara refused to give up the dream that Charlie could live a “normal life” just as her other three sons did. “We’re all different but we all think we’re normal. So what is normal? I haven’t figured that out yet,” she laughed.
Living Opportunities gave Charlie that chance, as well as so many other children who otherwise would be left on the fringes of society. Thanks to Barbara, Bill, and the other founding board members, children and adults with disabilities will have the quality of life they deserve.
To read more about Barbara’s story and the strides made in the last 50 years with intellectual and developmentally challenged people go to: 

Butler Employees Honored

October’s been a big month for Butler employees! Here’re a few of the honors bestowed among our ranks over the past few weeks:

David croppedDavid Welch (Ford shop) earned the title Senior Master Technician, a level of skill that took years, and more than 600 hours to studying and testing, to achieve. A Ford rep even stopped by to shake David’s hand, take him to lunch, and give him a cool plaque! David joins Butler’s other three Senior Master Certified Techs. We’re so proud of them all!


ThadThad Grogan (Body Shop) won his age group at the Dry Creek Ex-change Trail Horse Competition! In three contests throughout the year Thad and his quarter horse, Cody, cleared obstacles and jumped logs and gates in quick enough time to come from behind and take home the buckle. Thad, who’s been riding for more than five years and competing for three, says he takes horse classes every Saturday night so he and Cody can master real-life skills and be ready for anything the trail might throw them. As for whether he’ll compete again next year Thad says, “It’s fun, but… now that I’ve won I don’t want to lose now!” Congratulations, Thad!

GuyGuy Fowler (Body Shop) was honored by Living Opportunities for his gorgeous contribution to this year’s FurnARTure event. The auction is the signature fundraiser for The Studio at Living Opps, a branch of the non-profit that provides Living Opps clients with art instruction and materials. Guy donated a matching set of Adirondeck chairs he’d built by hand and “weather-proofed” with automotive paint! The items were sold in the FurnARTure silent auction. We’re in awe of Guy for the time, effort, and heart he contributed to a non-profit Butler proudly stands behind.

Peter McFadden in Jail for MDA edited croppedPeter McFadden (Sales Manager) raised more than $800 in “bail” after getting locked up for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Actually, Pete and the other “jailbirds” spent a few hours at the Buffalo Wild Wings on October 29th where they called everyone they could think of to raise funds. Thanks to everyone who contributed, Pete brought in more than $800, enough to send a child with Muscular Dystrophy to camp! Way to go, Pete!

You’re Invited to FurnARTure!

If you don’t already have plans for Sunday, September 7th we’d like to invite you to one of the most unique events around.  It’s FurnARTure, the signature event to benefit The Studio at Living Opportunities. The afternoon fete involves the auctioning of dozens of masterpieces, everything from canvases to photography, jewelry to sculpture, to furniture that’s been turned into gorgeous, functional art.  The proceeds go to support The Studio which is part of Living Opportunities, a non-profit organization that supports those with developmental disabilities in living independently and meeting their employment potential (see video above).

Linda Butler is excited to be on the art selection committee for this year’s event.  Other employees are pitching in, too, doing everything from assisting the planning committee to volunteering to voice the radio and television advertisements, to gathering friends and family to attend the party with them.  Oh, and we’re helping sell tickets for the amazing   “Gallery of Travel” raffle (see details below)!

There will be music, food, art, artists, wine, good company, and the warm feeling that comes with knowing you’re making someone’s world better just by being there.  For more information or to purchase tickets visit http://www.livingopps.org/events/.