Mark Desy came to Ranch Ehrlo’s Pilot Butte campus in the spring of 1972.

After six weeks he moved to Alice Minto’s Ranch Ehrlo group home. Alice told everyone who came to live with her that they wouldn’t be sent to any other homes; hers was the last one. She also promised two things: they would all graduate from high school, and they wouldn’t have a criminal record.

Mark said, “And guess what? I graduated from high school, and I don’t have a criminal record.”

Mark remembers going to Ranch activities like the three-mile race and awards night. Back then, the awards night was held in a restaurant called the Emporium.

Mark said, “We delivered fliers, which taught us how to have responsibility for when we started working. I was also in the militia in 1975. I learned the world doesn’t owe me anything.”

Mark said the Ranch also taught him how to bond with the other youth and staff in his home.

Mark graduated from high school in 1977. He moved around a bit before settling in Calgary. He held jobs as a dishwasher and security guard before landing a position with shingles manufacturer IKO Industries Limited in Alberta on Monday, December 15, 1980.

He said, “I worked as a pull man. I pulled the shingles off the machine and put them in the packaging.”

He purchased his current home, a condominium, in 1989. He has completed many renovations and improvements in his home. He proudly stated his home is paid for, and he doesn’t have any debt.

He retired from IKO on his birthday, Friday, March 25th, after 41 years of service.

His advice to youth is to finish high school and either go to university or trade school. He said, “Life is hard when you don’t have your schooling. I wouldn’t be where I am today if I hadn’t graduated from high school.”