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Rose Gates and Ruth Turner honored on their 90th birthday
ACS Community L.I.F.T. founder, Rose Gates, and her twin sister, Ruth Turner, were honored in the Centennial Citizen on their 90th birthday. The Centennial Citizen is a part of the Colorado Community Media group that provides online news for the many Denver-metro communities. The story was also picked up by KUSA, Channel 9 News, and featured the story of how growing up in extreme poverty led Rose Gates to establish Adventist Community Services (ACS) in Denver in 1951. Ruth Turner developed a passion for also serving people while living in California. Once she moved back to the Denver area, the two sisters continued on their mission of service. The story is reprinted below:
Each month, Ruth Turner visits the offices of ACS with four or five full bins with homemade baby blankets, baby sweaters, caps, and other snuggly baby gear, that are then given to Warm Hearts Warm Babies where they are added to layettes that we then distribute to new mothers for their new little babies.
These homemade items come courtesy of the Holly Creek Needles and Threads group founded by Rose and Ruth at the Holly Creek Retirement Community in Centennial. Currently Needles and Threads is made up of around 20 volunteers who meet twice a week and dedicate their time together to craft items for the newborns.
Rose Gates and Ruthie Turner really prefer not to speak of their past.
They'd much rather tell you about Needles and Threads, the knitting and sewing club they started at the Holly Creek Retirement Community in Centennial, the one that creates blankets and sweaters for Adventist Community Services in Denver.
But it's the lessons from their past that help propel the future of others.
Born in 1922, the identical twin sisters tell stories of a childhood filled with uncertainty.
Practically raising themselves until made wards of the state and placed in a foster home, the siblings knew all too well what it meant to do without.
“We were the typical little kids you see getting handouts on television,” said Gates. “I remember one year I got a Christmas stocking with an orange in it and I was just so grateful, but I ate the entire orange, peel and all, because I didn't know any better.”
It's experiences like this that oriented the two throughout much of their lives to the service of others.
In 1951 Gates helped establish the Adventist Community Services in Denver, now known as the ACS Life Interventions for Families in Transition.
After hearing the story of a homeless man who froze to death on a Denver sidewalk, Gates took to the streets with clean socks, coats and peanut butter sandwiches.
Turner, on the other hand, had a passion for the elderly that found her working in a senior community in California until she returned to Denver after the death of her husband.
Together, the two became a formidable force in Denver community service.
The LIFT program has expanded to include emergency shelters, rental and utility assistance, free well-child checkups, senior services and disaster response.
But now, even at 90, the sisters haven't slowed down, and still enjoy helping those in need, as well as encouraging others to do the same.
Through Needles and Threads, the twins and 17 other members craft blankets and sweaters and other bedding items for newborns, delivered monthly to ACS LIFT.
In 2012 alone, the group has dedicated close to 1,200 hours of sewing time to projects for the needy.
“There's just something so special about having something that's clean and new,” said Rose. “And that's what we want to provide to these kids, something special. Everybody needs to know they're special.”