Raising a child with a disability is a journey that often takes unexpected twists and turns. As an organization, Victory Lane has also experienced twists and turns over its 10 years of serving families. In 2019, Victory Lane faced three tremendous challenges: a fire, a flood, and the unexpected loss of a board member.
The current offices of 321Go therapy and Victory Lane were once also shared with a hair salon. On January 18, 2019, around 11 pm, Victory Lane Founder Brett Fischer received a phone call that the office building was on fire. Brett rushed to the scene and watched as fireman put out the blaze. He wondered what could be salvaged, knowing it would take resilience for 321Go therapy and Victory Lane to recover from the fire.
He recalls the friends arrived shortly after him: “They supported and encouraged us with a warm hat, coat, and car on a very cold winter evening.”
Victory Lane and 321Go were able to rent space nearby and eventually move back into a fully customized space. Following the fire, the leadership prepared for summer camp with hope and excitement.
The 2019 summer camp session started out as most summer camp sessions do: families meeting new friends and building strong relationships. The Victory Lane leaders were preparing to celebrate those relationships when a weather warning became a weather emergency.
Current director Natasha Hamilton was attending the camp session as a volunteer. She remembers families taking shelter in designated areas and group leaders stepping in to make sure everyone stayed safe and calm. Once they got the “all clear,” families headed back to their RVs. But the worst was not over.
“As I walked away after saying goodnight to one of our families, the water started to rise very quickly,” Natasha recalled. “I alerted the group leaders and everything happened quickly. My husband and other men started to pull trailers to high ground and others were on the phone calling for people to come help. Our community of helpers was strong.”
During the late fall of 2019, Brett received a phone call that his friend and Victory Lane board member Chris Oakley had died in a tragic hunting accident. Tiffanny Youngquist, who was the assistant director of Victory Lane at the time, communicated the effect Chris had on the Victory Lane community.
“Chris is one of those people who could make you feel like you were the most important person in the world. Each time you spoke to him, it had an impact on you,” Tiffanny shared.
Again, Brett thinks of the friends who were there: “I specifically remember friends who looked at me and bought my lunch when I first received the news.”
Following this series of challenges, Brett recalls thinking that 2020 had to be a better year.
“We were prepared for any challenge because we knew we were not alone. We had a community of people believing in the power of together was better,” he noted.
Navigating the unexpected with grace and mercy as a community brought Victory Lane leadership through 2019 and prepared them for the next difficult year.
“It has been a huge blessing to learn alongside the complexities of families raising children with disabilities. Our Victory Families have a level of perseverance and commitment that is deeper than any other group of people I’ve met,” Brett expressed. “They are great friends and great people to do life with.”
Will you be part of helping Victory Lane grow forward for the next decade? Find out how you can get involved by sending an email to [email protected].