Mr. & Mrs. LJ Powell
Brent Powell 1952-2020
Mr. & Mrs. Hugh Brown
In 1963, Mr. and Mrs. L.J. Powell decided that their special needs son, Brent, should have the same educational opportunities as other children. Together with Mr. and Mrs. Hugh Brown and Mr. and Mrs. R.F. Nalley, they organized the Oconee Association of Retarded Children (ARC). The first class started with five students and one teacher provided by the School District of Oconee County. In 1965, the Seneca Jaycees and the Seneca Sertoma Club began assisting with financial support and provided a VW bus for transportation. Later in 1965, a neighbor, Mrs. Bert Tribble, joined the ARC. By 1966, the ARC had enrolled twelve students and facilities had become inadequate, so these twelve students were moved to Keowee Elementary School. With the law specifying that special needs students could be enrolled in special needs education only until age 21, it became apparent that a new facility would be needed for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
In February 1971, Mrs. Bert Tribble donated twelve acres of land on South Cove Road to the ARC. In 1973, she donated an additional two acres and $25,000.00 for construction. In February 1974, the ARC opened Building A, which is still used today, for twelve clients and named the campus Tribble Memorial Center in memory of Bert Tribble. In 1977, Mrs. Tribble donated approximately ten acres including a recreational pond and cabin on South Cove Road, and approximately ten acres on Keowee School Road.
In 1974, the SC Legislature passed a bill, SC Code Ann. 44-21-810, which allowed for the creation of county Disabilities and Special Needs Boards. These Boards were selected by local delegation and pointed by the governor. The law also gave the county Boards the administrative responsibility of planning, coordinating, and providing service to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. These services enable people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to remain in their natural homes, or to live in a community setting where they can participate as equal members of their community. The first two county DSN Boards were established in Laurens and Greenville counties. In August 1974, the ARC established the Oconee Disabilities and Special Needs Board.
In 1978, the Early Intervention program began to serve the needs of preschool children with developmental disabilities. In 1980, the Nalley Building opened adding classroom and office space, a kitchen, and Gymnasium. In 1984, Supervised Living and Competitive Employment Services were added to serve people with intellectual and developmental disabilities living and working on their own in the community. As the good reputation of the people with intellectual disabilities from Tribble Center as hard working and capable employees spread through the community, job contracts increased in number. A new workshop was added in 1988 in response to the increased number of job contracts. In 1989, Supervised Living II moved into new apartments on the Tribble campus. In 1996, the first Community Training Home II was opened to provide residential service to three ladies. It is named Nalley Community Training Home in honor of Mr. and Mrs. R.F. Nalley who contributed so much to improve the quality of life of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. In 1997, Poplar Ridge Community Training Home II was opened and the Administrative Building was completed. To date, Oconee DSN Board has opened thirteen Community Training Homes, has added many additional training programs, and continues to grow to meet the needs of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in our community.