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January 2012

$3 Million donated to fund construction of new Ozark Center for Autism Edited from Press Release JOPLIN, Mo.—A $3 million donation from local and nine great-grandchildren. residents, Bill and Virginia Leffen, will fund the The Leffenʼs donation will enable Ozark Center for reconstruction of Ozark Center for Autism, which was Autism to place all its services in a single, state-ofdestroyed by the May 22 tornado. The new facility, the-art location, including its diagnostic center, which will be located at 2808 Picher Avenue, will be kindergarten through 12th grade classrooms, and named the Bill and Virginia Leffen Center for Autism, preschool. This new facility will also feature mock in honor of the h o m e couple. environment “The rooms, a small impact of this theater, a gift can never kitchen for be measured,” c o o k i n g said Paula classes, mock B a k e r , communityF r e e m a n experience President and rooms, and a C h i e f multipurpose Executive gymnasium. O f fi c e r - e l e c t Planning for a n d construction of administrator the Bill and for all autism Virginia Leffen programming. Center for “It i s Caption: Back row: Paula Baker, Freeman Health System President and Chief Executive Officer-elect Autism is impossible to and administrator for all autism programming, and Jennifer Kirby, Ozark Center for Autism Clinical u n d e r w a y, measure the Director. Front row: Virginia Leffen, Bill Leffen, and their daughter, Beth Cole. though a impact of completion changing a childʼs life. Thanks to Bill and Virginia date has not been set. The school is currently Leffen, Ozark Center for Autism will return better and operating out of its second temporary facility, located stronger than ever. On behalf of our staff, our at 3230 South Wisconsin Avenue, Suite D. It will students, our parents, and all of those who have yet remain in this location until the Bill and Virginia Leffen to be touched by the school, I offer our most sincere Center for Autism is completed. gratitude.” The donors are long-time Joplin residents. Bill Leffen, one of the first babies born at Freeman Hospital, is an avid supporter of the Freeman health system, former Navy man, banker and 25 year Board of Trustees for Commerce member in Kansas City and St. Louis. In 1972, he served as chairman of the Freeman Hospital Fund Drive. Wife, Virginia, a retired interior designer, now enjoys her six children, 15 grandchildren,

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Missouri Autism Report January