Our History

1966: The Palo Alto County Association for Retarded Citizens began a program for adults with disabilities in the basement of Mr. and Mrs. Kermit Reeves (PICTURED HERE TO THE RIGHT). Rose Reeves was the first teacher in our area.

1968: The program moved to the Palo Alto County Home where a few rooms were remodeled to allow the individuals to work on piecework for Pamline Manufacturing.

1970: The program moved to the “Open Door School” building on 16th Street in Emmetsburg. In this setting, the men worked on Pamline Contracts and woodworking while the women learned sewing and rug-making skills. The women also packaged sample products for Style-Craft Furniture of Milford.

1975: A new building was constructed at King and Seventh Streets in Emmetsburg and the program was moved there. Ceramics and providing congregate meals to senior citizens were the main activities at this time.

1982: In July, the program almost doubled in size as Willing Workers merged with Project Learning, a program at Iowa Lakes Community College. On November 17, the name was officially changed to Horizons Unlimited of Palo Alto County, Inc.
1983: Horizons Unlimited received accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, also known as CARF.

1985: Horizons opened their first group home at 2201 21st Street, providing housing for eight individuals.

1988: In April, Horizons purchased a new building (3104 Main) which was remodeled to serve as our Can and Bottle Redemption Center.

1990: Horizons rented the former convent in West Bend to house five men in a Group Home setting. The Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) gave full approval to Horizons with the highest accreditation renewal of three years. The Supported Employment Program was added to our service base.

1991: Horizons received a $203,000 recycling grant from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The Recycling Center moved to the newly acquired building along Highway 4 South in Emmetsburg.

1993: The INCH (Independent Community Housing) expanded to include clients living in privately rented apartments.

1994: In April, the Recycling Center began receiving materials from Kossuth and Pocahontas Counties, in addition to Palo Alto County. An expansion was necessary to accommodate the increased volume of recyclables. This expansion was funded by a grant from the DNR for $270,000.

1996: Horizons received the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) three- year Certification. In July, Horizons completed an OSHA Safety and Health Consultation.

1997: Purchased a one-head Melco embroidery machine. This was the beginning of Horizon’s embroidery business called “Creative Stitches”.

1998: Horizons Unlimited became the first facility of its kind nationally to win OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Program/Star Award. In 1998, a four-head Melco embroidery machine was purchased to enhance productivity at Creative Stitches.
2001: In August, the construction of a 6,600-sq. ft. addition was completed. In September, Horizons was selected as the winner of the IOWA RECYCLING Association’s 2001 Recycling Facility of the Year.

2003: In February, Creative Stitches began silk screening. In November, Horizons purchased a new dryer for silk screening.

2004: In June, Horizons held our Annual Appreciation BBQ. In October, Horizons began initial planning for HUBB, Horizons Unlimited Bargain Barn.

2005: In April, remodeling began for the HUBB and in June the Annual Appreciation BBQ was held. In September, the HUBB opened for business.

2007: In May, Chief Executive Officer Ronald C. Ludwig resigned after 19 years of service to Horizons. In June, the HUBB building sold. In August, Eddie M. Hannagan was hired as new C.E.O. of Horizons Unlimited. In October, CARF gave Horizons a one year accreditation.

2008: In October CARF gave Horizons a three year accreditation.

2009: In February, Horizons CEO Ed Hannagan left Horizons. In March, Creative Stitches closed and Horizons received a three year accreditation from Chapter 24. In April, Creative Stitches was sold to private owners and moved to a location near the courthouse in Emmetsburg. On April 20, the day habilitation program started at Horizons' main campus. In August, Ron Askland is named the new C.E.O. for Horizons. In September, Horizons Unlimited celebrated 40 years.

2010: Horizons unveiled a new corporate logo and a new website this year.

2011: In the summer, Horizons began collecting and recycling textiles. In October, Horizons receives a three year accreditation from CARF. In December, Second Hand Thrift opened its doors at the northwest corner of Main and Broadway Streets in Emmetsburg.

2012: In March, received Palo Alto County Gaming Development Corporation (PACGDC) grants for a new van, telephone system, and wall partition for shredding area. In July, received a DNR grant for a new pick-up for recycling.

2013: Redemption Center gets a new scanning system to process and record data for redeemed cans and bottles. In December, the Variety Club of Iowa delivers a new mini-van to the 21st Street Home from the Wild Rose Casino and Resorts and the PACGDC.

2014: 21st Street Home receives updates, including new carpeting, new refrigerator in the kitchen, a new medications refrigerator, and replaced a leaking window in the large common living room.

2015: The Horizons office building's conference room received significant technological upgrades thanks to a generous grant from the Palo Alto County Gaming Development Corporation. The 21st Street Group Home received a new refrigerator thanks to donations from the Frederick family, as well as a new stove. The 19th Street Group Home received a new water heater, new dish washer, and office upgrades. The 15th Street Group Home received a new refrigerator and fresh paint in all the bathrooms. All Horizons group homes received new locking doorknobs installed on each resident's door. The Monroe Street Duplex received a new oven. The King Street Apartment Complex got a fresh paint job on both the interior and exterior, a new banister, and a new van.

2016: Horizons Unlimited handed recycling responsibilities back to Palo Alto County, in its move away from segregated working environments toward helping individuals with disabilities find work in integrated business environments in the local community.