Cathy Brodhead to be honored with Family of the Year award at LifePath Luncheon

 During a dizzying era of change, the Melinda Moss family were true pioneers

September 15, 2018

Soon after Bill and Dot Moss of Bethlehem adopted Melinda Moss, their daughter was diagnosed with an intellectual disability.

It was the early 1970s, and Melinda was the youngest of four children adopted by the couple, also including Philip Moss, Craig Moss and Cathy Brodhead. 

It was a time when state institutions were being shut down, new programming was being created and new educational models were being tested. The future of their daughter was at stake, yet Bill and Dot felt lost in a sea of unproven choices. 

So instead of heeding the complicated advice of “experts,” they decided to raise Melinda in the only way they knew how – immersed in their community and participating in many activities.  

Bill and Dot made sure Melinda had all the opportunities their three other children had. Melinda took piano lessons and swimming lessons, had a private tutor and was included in any and every possible outing. The couple wanted the best for their daughter as she grew and developed into a young woman.

It was that kind of progressive and inclusive thinking -- in a dizzying era of change -- that makes Bill and Dot true pioneers. 

By the early 1990s, Melinda turned 21 and Bill and Dot were of retirement age. As any aging parent dreams and worries about a child’s future, so, too, did Bill and Dot about Melinda’s.

“I remember a call from my mom,” Cathy said. “Melinda had received a ‘chance’ opportunity from a caseworker to live in a community living arrangement – called LifePath."

Bill and Dot had apprehensions about putting their daughter in a community home, but ultimately took the advice from the caseworker and enrolled Melinda in the LifePath house called “Wetzel,” a bi-level home in Macungie.

It proved to be an excellent decision.

Melinda still lives in Wetzel today, her parents having passed and Cathy taking the reins in ensuring her sister has all the opportunities available to her to live a fulfilling life.

Cathy, in fact, has become an amazing part of her sister’s team, helping Melinda to express her own thoughts and desires.  

For example, when Melinda changed bedrooms at the Wetzel house four years ago, Cathy came to the house with paint swatches and asked Melinda to choose the color. Melinda chose a bright fuchsia-pink.

Cathy then bought the paint, stripped the walls, prepped the area and painted the room, by herself.

“We call it Pepto-Bismol pink, but Melinda loves it,” Cathy said. 

Melinda has her fashion favorites, too, encouraged by older sister Cathy. And Cathy ensures Melinda has all she desires  - yoga pants, fitness gear, fitted tees and, her all-time favorite, jean jackets.

Cathy’s influence and support aren't just for her sister. Cathy wants to ensure all of the ladies at the Wetzel house have opportunities, as well.

Recently, Cathy transformed the downstairs area of the Wetzel house into an exercise room. She donated exercise equipment and the painting and installation of decorative enhancements to the space. The total transformation of the room is nothing less than stunning, with a treadmill, exercise bike, elliptical, free weights, lighting fixtures and even a Wii!

But perhaps here is the best part: Cathy enlisted the advice of the ladies of Wetzel every step of the way -- bringing in paint swatches for them to consider and soliciting their opinions on replacing lighting sconces, shelving, mirrors and more. 

Today, the room boasts a rich, lively, bright fuchsia-purple color(!) with geometric-patterned mirrors on the walls. The room “pops” and invites one to hop on the bike or turn on the Wii or elliptical and get moving!

Cathy has a wonderful rapport with the staff at Wetzel and others at LifePath and appreciates the commitment that everyone has in helping Melinda and the ladies of Wetzel succeed.

We thank Cathy for her time, effort and talents, but mostly for encouraging the ladies to have their own voice and to live a fulfilling life.

Bill and Dot would be very proud of Melinda and the woman she has become, and just as importantly, of their unsung hero, Cathy.

Beaming from above, Bill's and Dot's smiles are undoubtedly as bold and bright as, well, the color fuchsia.

Congratulations and thank you, Cathy, for the brightness that you shine on LifePath and the ladies of Wetzel. Every day of the year! 

Annette Kaiser