The Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home & Visitor’s Center News
February 8th 2019 Fundraising Dinner
On Friday, February 8th at 7:00 pm, the Lee County Republicans held their annual
fundraising dinner. This year’s event was much different from those in the past. Normally,
proceeds from only the dessert auction go to our home, but based on our financial needs (that
I will explain more in detail in the Director’s Message) all of the funds, after expenses, were
donated to the Reagan Boyhood Home.
The keynote speaker for the evening was Peggy Grande, President Reagan’s post-presidency
Executive Assistant (1989-1999) and author of the book, The President Will See You Now.
Approximately 200 attendees enjoyed the evening’s activities that included music, a power
The Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home
April 2019 Newsletter
point presentation with inspirational words from Ms. Grande, plus an auction that included
several items donated by the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California. Two of our young
docents, David Swegle & Issac Blaney were on hand to assist Peggy with book sales and other
needed tasks. Thanks to both of them and ALL of our docents that came out to support the
2019 Open Hours
The Reagan Boyhood Home opened for the season on April 1, 2019, after what seemed
to be a never ending winter. Our hours this year are Monday-Saturday, 10:00 am-5:00 pm,
and Sunday, 1:00 pm-5:00 pm. Due to increased attendance, we have decided to keep our
hours of operation the same as 2018. Our last day of the 2019 season will be October 31,
The Executive Director’s Report
To our friends, patrons, sponsors, and supporters of The Reagan Boyhood Home, it has
been nearly three years since I assumed the position of Executive Director. When I took the
job, if I had said it was going to be a challenge, it would have been an understatement at best.
The Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home
April 2019 Newsletter
After arriving in early July of 2016, I was taken aback by the amount of decline the home was
in and how it had been neglected. The need was so urgent, that our Board of Directors
borrowed funds to complete the most needed repairs/improvements to restore the campus to
its previous state. All of 2017-2018 was spent doing repairs and upgrades. As of this writing,
nearly 100 tasks have been completed with another 8 in progress and yet another 18 on the
“Need to be Completed List.”
The previous board had a vision that our newly formed, and current board, does not
embrace. Prior to my appointment, four houses had been purchased for a planned expansion.
That plan is not the vision that we share now. We now have put all four houses on the market
so that we can pay down the $100,000 we needed for repairs for both the Visitor’s Center and
the home. Plus there is still $50,000 worth of repairs needed at this time. Recently, a
GoFundMe page was established to seek donations for the rest of the planned renovations in
case the homes do not sell as quickly as we’d like. To donate, please see our Homepage
www.reaganhome.org or https://www.gofundme.com/z7zvyt-ronald-reagan-boyhood-homepreservation-foundation
Earlier this year we bid farewell to Terrence Raper, our Administrative Assistant since
- He obtained fulltime employment in Sterling, Illinois, and we wish him nothing but the
best. He also welcomed home a new daughter, Claire, in early March. Congratulations to him
and his wife, Kayla.
On a sad note, we regretfully accepted the resignation of one of our longtime board
members, Robert (Bob) Bell. His resignation was brought about due to health reasons while
wintering in Florida. He is well on the way to recovery but he thought it best to resign his seat
on the board. Please keep Bob in your prayers.
After a February visit to the Reagan Presidential Library, in Simi Valley, California, a
partnership was formed between our home and the Reagan Presidential Library Gift Shop. It
allowed me to purchase items for our gift shop wholesale, plus have the ability to add many
new items to our shop. Speaking of our newly re-arranged shop, new fixtures and about 25
new items have been added to our inventory so far in 2019.
On a more positive note, a few of the members from our local Dixon Garden Club have
stepped up and volunteered to take on the planting and maintenance of the Reagan Family
vegetable garden. They will be putting a small fence around it to keep out our furry friends
and they will be planting only period correct (1920’s) seeds and plants. ALSO a few folks from
the Lee Co. Extension Office in Amboy, better known as the “Master Gardeners,” will be taking
care of our flower beds, again planting period correct flowers. My personal goal is to have at
least two each of Ronald’s and Nancy’s Tea Roses from Jackson Perkins for planting next year.
I also want to add some more peonies to our beds as they were Nancy’s favorite flower.
In closing, I knew straight on it would be a challenge here, and it has been, but I do not
regret one minute of the time I have spent, here including the worries or the sleepless nights.
I’ve often said I wanted to restore the dignity to this fine home and do my part to help keep the
memory of Ronald Reagan alive and well. I honestly believe, now more than ever, we are on the
right path and I am proud of what the whole Reagan staff, its contractors, and friends have
helped accomplish in the last three years.