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Lutheran Family & Children’s Services celebrates 50 years

Tammy Hargin, a behavioral health manager with LFCS, reads some of the names on the honor wall. Photo by Gregory Dullum

Lutheran Family and Children’s Services of Missouri has been serving southeast Missouri for 50 years.

The anniversary was celebrated last Thursday evening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and the unveiling of an honor wall recognizing various levels of donors.

“It’s not every day you get to celebrate 50 years,” said Christy O’Neal, regional development officer for LFCS. “We’re very blessed to be able to continue to provide the life-changing services right here in southeast Missouri that we do. We definitely would not be where we are today without so much support from this community and the many surrounding communities.

“Whether it’s through an adoption or counseling or parenting or pregnancy, together we have helped these families become stronger and safety.”

O’Neal thanked the many people who helped make the LFCS office a success over the years. “And success in our eyes means, lives changed,” she explained.

She said the bottom line is this: “You have helped make lasting impacts and generational changes for the thousands of children and families that we have served over the years right here in southeast Missouri.”

“For five decades, Lutheran Family and Children’s Services has been able to extend its ministry of hope, of healing, and sustainable change in southeast Missouri,” added LFCS President and CEO Mike Duggar. “We are so proud of the work we have done.”

The Rev. Joshua Schmidt of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Jackson offered a blessing and rededication.

Debbie Colyott from U.S. Rep. Jason Smith’s office, read a proclamation from the U.S. Congress honoring LFCS on its 50th anniversary at its Cape Girardeau office.

Vernon Kasten Jr., who has served on the board locally and in St. Louis, also spoke. His parents had a zeal for LFCS. The building at 3178 Blattner Drive is named in his father’s honor.

The honor wall, inside the front door, is a wall of stylized bricks with donors’ names (and some photos) on them. The wall is a fundraising project for the 50th anniversary. Donate $50 and you get your name on a brick; $500 and you get your name and photo on a brick; donate $5,000 and you can get your name on a room in the building.

The organization has been in existence since 1868. It was founded to provide refuge for children left homeless after the Civil War.

The regional office in Cape Girardeau opened in 1973 in response to an increasing demand in crisis pregnancy, adoption and foster care services in the southeast Missouri area.

Gregory Dullum has worked for The Cash-Book Journal for more than 25 years. Prior to becoming the editor in May 2017, he was production manager, circulation manager and reporter. Before moving to Cape Girardeau in 1988, he was editor of the Saint Louis Park Sailor, a weekly community newspaper in suburban Minneapolis, MN. A native of Minnesota, he returned there after graduating with distinction in 1978 from Ambassador College in Pasadena, CA, with a degree in mass communications. His wife, Marie, whom he met in college, is a native of Zalma, a small town in southeast Missouri. They have two grown daughters and five grandchildren. Gregory may be reached at

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