For 55 years, SRVS has supported people with disabilities in the Memphis area. With a network of innovative programs, SRVS is the only organization in West Tennessee to support people with disabilities from birth throughout a lifetime. Through this continuum of care, SRVS supports 1600 individuals and their families each year.
In celebration of its 55 year history, SRVS salutes Mrs. Dorothy Wilson for her visionary leadership in helping to open SRVS’ founding program.
Mrs. Dorothy Wilson, wife of Holiday Inn founder Kemmons Wilson, mother of five, and 1970’s National Mother of the Year, helped bring needed services to people with disabilities, the community’s “forgotten children.” In 1962, determined to find appropriate work for people with disabilities, she chaired a House-to-House Campaign, mobilizing 6000 mothers to march door-to-door collecting a total of $30,000. Thanks to her efforts, the city’s first Sheltered Occupational Shop opened later that year. Over the years, SOS employed thousands and grew to generate $1 million in annual revenue. In 1983, SOS merged with MARC Services to become SRVS. Because of Dorothy, lives continue to be brightened in Memphis. We salute Dorothy Wilson for paving the way and extend our thanks to you for helping to continue her legacy.
Dorothy Wilson, left, House-to-House Campaign Chair, with Flo McLarty and Persis Williams.
Photo credit: Preservation and Special Collections Department, University Libraries, University of Memphis