Reach Inc. relocates and starts to re-establish - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Reach Inc. relocates and starts to re-establish

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - A second home: that is what clients and staff call the Reach, Incorporated building that burned to the ground last week.

The organization provides programs and services for 150 people with disabilities in Eau Claire County. As tough as the transition has been after the fire, Reach is happy to be moving on, and moving up. The non-profit checked out their new headquarters today

"At the moment of impact, it was feeling of complete loss, wondering what we're going to do next, devastation and lots of tears," says Stacy H. Wigfield, the CEO of Reach, Inc.

A fire early Friday morning destroyed the Reach Incorporated building, but not the heart of the non-profit.

"My heart just fell out. It was devastating. It was a lot of tears, a lot of heartbreak but right away we realized we had to get everything going back to normal. Our clients need their routine, they need their regimen," says Holly Ganong, Reach, Inc. Program Co-Coordinator.  

"Our goal was to not allow people to sit at home very long," Wigfield says.

And they didn't. Half of the workers were re-located on Monday to temporary offices. Places like Curt Manufacturing and Chippewa River Industries were among them.

"Within the next 30 to 45 days, we hope to have all of our clients, consumers and workers back up in this space," Wigfield says.

On Tuesday, just four days after the fire ravaged a placed they called their second home, staff worked to move everyone to their new home, on the second floor of Eau Claire's Eastridge center.

"We're setting up chairs and tables. We're designating which areas are going to be for programming, for vocational, for day services, for staff, for sensory areas, and personal care. We're bringing up materials to start working with so we can get everyone back together and back to their important routines in their lives," Ganong says.

Right now, transportation is being toted as the biggest issue.

"Just crossing T's and dotting I's and getting people to the right location; a different location than they're used to," Wigfield says.

Luckily, a year lease is all it takes for a little piece of mind.

"We know we're up here for the next 12 months. We're comforted by that. It will be a really busy and challenging year to see where we wind up a year from today," Wigfield says.

Reach employees met earlier today to discuss the future of the non-profit. Although nothing has been decided yet, the CEO says rebuilding at the fire damaged site is likely.

Brandy Harrington of Saint Paul has been charged with arson for starting the fire that destroyed the Reach building.

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