PITTSBURG — At a dedication ceremony, family and friends said Diney Bicknell DeRuy had a heart for people, and because of that, Safehouse Crisis Center dedicated their new shelter to her.

Diney was a social worker who helped people dealing with domestic abuse.
“She embraced these kind of people,” Director of the Child Exchange Center and Visitation Theresa Amershek

SafeHouse Crisis Center serves seven counties in southeast Kansas — advocating for up to 800 victims per year with about 200 living in the shelter.

Safehouse Crisis Center Executive Director Rebecca Brubaker said the shelter had to turn families down because the current facility was full — a new facility was needed.

“We had to turn families away,” she said. “We wanted to expand the shelter to help more people.”

The new building will more than double the capacity.

The building was donated by Gene and Rita Bicknell, Diney’s parents and a fundraising campaign was used to earn money for renovation.

JB & A Campaign Consultant John Marshall helped put together the fundraising plan.

“This campaign was a miracle campaign,” he said. “The materials were donated and funded in record time — I’ve never seen anything like it.

“This shows how special the Pittsburg community and the center is for people here.”

Susie Boldrini and Jeannette Minnis were the co-chairs of the steering committee and were instrumental to the project.

“She was one of my best friends,” Minnis said, speaking of Diney with tears in her eyes.

Project Coordinator for the shelter project Ron Scripsick said the building was in great structural condition but needed water, electric and sewer lines replaced.

The remodel brought new light to the old building with it’s contemporary style.

“The building was specially designed by members of the community,” Brubaker said.

The remodeling of the building started in October and finished July 1.

The shelter has 14 bedrooms and with a total of 71 beds.

There are family rooms and yards for children to play in — including a big playset with swings, which was also donated.

The home has top of the line security and a full time clinical therapist for adults and children.

There is also a men’s wing on one side of the building, complete with its own bathroom and living room.

Two of Diney’s sons, D.J. DeRuy and Kellen DeRuy, said the dedication left them speechless and it encapsulates their mother’s passion to help others.

“You could count on her to be helping somebody, always there for anybody,” D.J. DeRuy said.

Kellen DeRuy agreed.

“It’s definitely our mom,” he said.

 — Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at spotter@morningsun.net or follow her on Twitter @PittStephP and Instagram @stephanie_morningsun.