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ST. CROIX — Lutheran Social Services of the Virgin Islands hosted a special ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Queen Louise Home Gerber Children’s Bike Path on the Queen Louise Home campus in Estate Concordia this week.

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The elliptical-shaped bike path and bridge were sponsored by Cindy and Murry Gerber of The Cindy and Murry Gerber Foundation.  The Gerbers are part-time residents of St. Croix and supporters of Queen Louise Home and Lutheran Social Services of the V.I.

Hank Smock, Lutheran Social Services board president, along with Junia John-Straker, chief executive officer, and Dana Holtz, Director of Queen Louise Home, relayed messages of gratitude to the Gerbers and the small crowd of supporters and agency partners.

John-Straker shared the story of how the bike path was a dream for many years.  She said bike riding has always been a favorite activity among the children at Queen Louise Home, and they wanted a designated space for the children to ride their bikes within the safety of the facility’s campus.

Cindy and Murry Gerber and family members

Cindy and Murry Gerber and family members

She said that in 2013, Cindy and Murry Gerber had expressed an interest in doing something special for the children at the Home.

“They made the bike path dream come true,” said John-Straker. “You have made a real difference in the lives of the children of Queen Louise Home, and we are forever grateful for your support,” she said, addressing the Gerbers and their family members in attendance.

Judge Denise Hinds-Roach said the Queen Louise Home is important because it provides children with the love and care they need.

The Gerber Children’s Bike Path is accessible to all programs on the Queen Louise Home Campus. The path is used by the children being cared for at Queen Louise Home Cottages A and B.

In addition, the bike path serves as a resource for the children who require wheelchairs and are being cared for at Sister Emma Cottage. The Lutheran Social Services’ Early Head Start Program is also located on the Queen Louise Home campus, and teachers and caregivers use the bike path to take the young toddlers out for strolls in the six-seater “baby buggies.”

The bike path was designed by architect, Hortensia Lanio of Lanio & Associates Architects. Lanio is a long-time supporter of Queen Louise Home. The path was constructed by Hector Roasario and R&M Construction.

The Queen Louise Home for Children provides a safe haven and 24-hour residential foster care for children in the Virgin Islands who have been abused, abandoned, or neglected, and/or have severe disabilities. Access to medical support, counseling, education services, recreational and other programs are provided to all children at the Home.

Sister Emma Cottage is a program of Queen Louise Home and provides housing and 24-hour residential foster care for children in the Virgin Islands that have severe disabilities and special medical needs.

Established on St. Croix in 1904, Queen Louise Home is a program of Lutheran Social Services of the Virgin Islands (LSSVI) – the largest private, nonprofit social services agency in the U. S. Virgin Islands. LSSVI is an equal opportunity provider and employer. For more information about LSSVI programs and services, please visit www.lssvi.org and www.facebook.com/lssvi.

Image Credit: Lutheran Social Services of the Virgin Islands, Inc.