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Adult Protective Services provides assistance to seniors and disabled adults at risk for abuse, neglect or exploitation. We have seen a dramatic increase in referrals in the last three years, and this was reflected in the number of stories submitted (92 in 2011 and 60 in 2010) for the Billings Gazette Empty Stockings feature. The response to our stories was a wonderful testament to the care and compassion of individuals and families in Billings and surrounding communities. We received gifts from as far away as Scobey.

We are so appreciative to The Billings Gazette and recognize the enormous effort on the part of Gazette staff that prepared and then executed the Empty Stockings edition. Thank you.

Every year our APS staff also rallies for this huge Christmas event. Community response was overwhelming and we thank you. As calls came in, we collected, wrapped and delivered gifts to all 92 people represented in our stories. One little lady later sent a card that read, "Thanks for the wonderful gifts. I had a great Christmas with people like you." Another note written with an unsteady hand said, "Thank you for all your thoughtfulness. You are precious."

Adult Protective Service is also grateful to those who gifted toward the future needs of our clients. One company gave us 40 $50 gift cards, and another individual gave us 20 $50 gift cards to Wal-Mart. Such generosity allows us to help many people beyond the Christmas season.

Thanks to all who contributed to this special event. We truly do live in the last best place.

Laurie Peterson Yamamoto

Community social worker supervisor

Billings

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