NEW PORT RICHEY - Dave Neal
used to do the paperwork and drive the school van, too.
Now the facility he
founded for mentally challenged adults is celebrating a milestone, and Neal
can't believe it has been 10 years.
The Red Apple Adult Training Center, formerly the Red Apple School
, will have an anniversary and fundraising bash Sept. 10 in Sims Park downtown.
Executive Director Steve Giammichele wonders how Neal
did so much himself before hiring a staff to help.
"I don't know how I did it either," Neal
said."I did everything by the seat of my pants." He's
semiretired now, working two days a week as an administrative consultant and a Red Apple board member.That didn't stop him from spending three hours on a recent day off cooking up new ideas for the school.
"I'm spending most of my time [thinking] outside the box," Neal
said of his
"We thought this place was the Hilton when we moved in," Neal
said."We're bursting at the seams already."
With possibly 20 more students to enroll soon, school officials are considering expansion, he
By the time Red Apple turns 20, Neal hopes to see branches in Land O' Lakes and Dade City to supplement the New Port Richey base.He's
talking to people about donating a central Pasco site. Neal
appreciates the staff taking over the daily tasks.Giammichele, who assumed much of the day-to-day responsibility, has about 30 years experience in the behavioral field. Neal
considers the staff his
"They've got huge, huge hearts," he
The Red Apple team has become particularly adept at keeping daily logs on the students' progress and outlining goals for them.
"It's gone beyond my wildest dreams," Neal