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Director Lynndel Messmore Retiring after 44 years of service

“No one has walked through the doors of Thrive Community Services more than Lynndel Messmore,” stated Pam Green, Chief Executive Officer for Thrive Community Services, formerly KCCDD. Announced at the most recent board meeting, Lynndel Messmore of Galesburg is retiring from the agency after 44 years of service.

Shortly after graduating with a psychology degree from McKendree University in Lebanon, IL, she started as a Direct Support Professional (DSP) on June 1, 1979. She quickly moved in to a program manager role where she oversaw participants progress and assisted with community employment opportunities. From there she moved in to the director position of what was then referred to as the Sunnyside Work Activity Center. During her time as a director, she has served on various state boards and committees.

“If I look back and think about what I want to be remembered for, connecting our community with our participants is what I am most proud of – specifically implementing volunteer service program for the participants,” states Messmore of Galesburg.

“I have learned so much from participants over the years. Working with individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities has taught me about care and compassion. How to be effective in my communication skills – talking and listening - especially non-verbal communication skills.”

She has served on the Camp Kidz board for more than 18 years, a camp held annually for children with varying abilities in Knox and Warren counties. Currently she is the co-chair of the Human Rights committee, which serves as an oversight for individuals who live at home.

A longtime resident of Galesburg, Messmore has been an active member of Galesburg Lions Club for 16 years and served on and later chaired the Christmas party for kids with disabilities committee.

As the field has changed, her position has taken on new duties and roles. What has remained the same is her dedication to sharing the philosophy of participants having choice and being an integral part of the community.

“I am thankful for the relationships I have made with individuals and seeing the difference they made in my life. These relationships – that’s really what it is all about. I can’t imagine having a better career anywhere else.”

Never one to sit for long, Messmore’s immediate plans after retiring is to help with her son’s lawn care and snow removal business. “I hope to have some time for traveling,” she shares with a smile, “and lots of dog walking.”

“My hope is for Thrive to continue making a positive impact for the participants in a variety of ways. When I gave my retirement notice, I shared that while I won’t be coming every day, I will always be cheering Thrive on from the sidelines!”

Please join us in celebrating this milestone retirement Thursday June 15 from 11am – 1:30pm at the Hub, Thrive’s downtown location at 143 E Main Street, Galesburg, IL 61401. A virtual option for out of town guests is available - please email for more details.

Established in 1956, Thrive Community Services, formerly KCCDD, has a long history of advocating and providing services in Galesburg. Current programs include community day services, community employment services, SOAR respite program and Gordon Behrents Senior Center. Today, the organization serves over 300 individuals.

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