The project is a unique homelike facility on the hospital's campus that offers respite services for caregivers of disabled people between 16 and 40 years old, giving the teens and young adults a place to go for short stays.
Farrell and his wife, Sharon, offered to match the first $1 million raised toward the facility, named after their granddaughter, Kaitlyn, a special-needs teenager who has Rett syndrome and cannot walk or talk.
“It endorses the fact that, yes, there is a big need for it. It is real, and people are willing to open up their pocketbooks and help make that happen,” says Farrell, a retired entrepreneur who owned manufacturing businesses in aeronautics parts and medical devices and supplies, such as saw blades and splints.
As Gary Cates, the hospital's president, explains, “We announced the project at an annual golf pro-am fundraiser in June of 2011. A year later, at our event in 2012, we opened the doors to that facility,” named Kaitlyn's Cottage.
For Farrell's support of Kaitlyn's Cottage and his overall work at 35-bed Defiance Regional, he has been selected as the 2013 Trustee of the Year for a small hospital—those with fewer than 100 beds.
Farrell has been a trustee of Defiance Regional since 2004 and chairman since 2007. He also is a trustee for ProMedica, a Toledo, Ohio-based health system and parent organization for Defiance Regional, which was named to Modern Healthcare's 2012 list of the most profitable critical-access hospitals, with net income of $16.5 million.
Farrell is “a finance guy, so he gets the numbers,” says Cates, who often sits down with Farrell to talk through the “business pressure and dynamics” the hospital faces. But Farrell also “really has a genuine heart for people, and if you get to know Dan, a project like Kaitlyn's Cottage doesn't surprise you,” Cates says.
The cottage offers overnight and daytime respite services in a 4,500-square-foot facility with four bedrooms, a library, activity room and dining areas. Daytime activities include crafts, baking and music.