Devastated by closure of Riverwood Centers

Dear Editor:

As a client of Riverwood Centers, I am devastated by its closure. The absence of the services I was receiving has created a huge void in my life and my ability to manage the symptoms of my mental illness. I watch as my peers struggle — one to the point of attempting suicide the day the closure was announced. We feel as if we are unanchored as we navigate the sea of life. We are unsure of where to turn as the other services in the area have very quickly become overwhelmed by the demand this closure has created on them. We are frustrated, angry and left to ask the questions, “Why?” “What happened?” and “Was there really no notice of this coming?”

As stressed as we clients feel, however, one must also ask about the employees. They, too, are left with nowhere to turn for assistance and many questions. The closure was as much a surprise to them as to us. Many of them had worked for 20 plus years at Riverwood Centers. They are left with a huge financial void as they did not receive their last pay check and many hours of vacation and sick pay.  Retirement funds and benefits have also been lost in the closure.

Having contacted many resources such as the attorney general and the department of labor, the employees are being told there is no avenue available to them to reclaim the monies owed to them. As much as I would like to believe the employees hold a significant void due to the lack of interactions with their caseload, I am thinking the financial void is far greater. What can be done to assist in solving this dilemma? What can this community do to assist in financial remuneration for these employees? We cannot afford to allow this behavior within our business community.

Louise E. Newsom