The Institute for Community Living (ICL) hosted a Plaque Dedication Ceremony on October 4, 2013 to honor the memory of Bernard Wilson, a former resident of the organization’s Milestone community residence in Queens. This moving observance took place at ICL’s Stepping Stone community residence in the Boerum Hill section of Brooklyn and was held on the same date of what would have been Bernard’s 55thbirthday.

Everyone in attendance paid tribute to Bernard and was thankful for the support and services ICL provided to him.The Wilson family made a generous financial donation to ICL in gratitude for the help provided to Bernard during his stay at Milestone. In turn, ICL dedicated a plaque in Bernard’s honor that will be on permanent display at the ICL Stepping Stone Residence.

At ICL’s Milestone Residence, Bernard was taught independent living skills such as managing his medications, personal budgeting, using various transportation systems, as well as shopping, cooking and cleaning for himself. Eventually, Bernard was able to live independently in his own apartment, where he resided until he passed away in 2009.

Members of the Wilson family, including Bernard’s brother Donovan, sister Fay and nephew C.J. gave loving tributes at the ceremony. A moving poem written by Donovan, entitled Angel’s Embrace, was recited to honor the memory of his beloved brother. Some family members even wore green, which was Bernard’s favorite color.

Bernard’s brother Donovan commented, “ICL helps individuals make positive changes in their lives, re-enter the community and become productive responsible members of society. Financial support helps organizations continue to do this important work and keeps these programs alive. An organization like ICL is incredibly valuable to the community and New York as a whole.”

Participants and representatives of ICL who attended the ceremony were David J. Woodlock, President and CEO; Maureen Italiano, Senior VP of Adult Mental Health; and Ann Marie Petrocelli, VP of the Queens Division. The Citation Presentation was conducted by Sandra Chapman, Brooklyn Deputy Borough President.

“We at ICL are proud of Bernard’s accomplishments,” commented CEO David Woodlock. “During his time with us, Bernard developed life skills to the extent that he could leave our group residence and live independently in his own apartment. Our staff had very positive things to say about him and would often refer to Bernard as a model for others to follow. Through his own efforts, and with ICL’s guidance, Bernard became a man with a renewed sense of purpose and responsibility. This plaque honors his accomplishments and, I hope, will be an inspiration to others.”