Left to right: Jason, Derrick, Kelly, and Gary

Roommates Kelly, Gary and Derrick headed north in April with Direct Support Professionals (DSP) Shelly Gardner and Jason Due to Chicago. Without a doubt, they had the time of their lives.

A long list of first time experiences was checked off: first vacation, first time in Chicago, and first time in a hotel, just to name of few.

The men had been planning the trip for a year, saving and

Jason, Derrick, Gary, and Kelly

Jason, Derrick, Gary, and Kelly

waiting for the perfect time to go on the 4-day trip to the Windy City.

“I didn’t like the drive but it was fun. We did so much. I wish we could go back!” Derrick said.

When they arrived, it was cold and rainy. But that did not stop them. They went to the aquarium, saw Soldier Field, took Michigan Avenue by storm, visited the Navy Pier, and dined like kings.



“I loved eating out every meal!” Derrick exclaimed. “We went over my birthday, so I got to pick the restaurant that night, pizza and cake.”

Shedd Aquarium ( was a favorite for everybody. The varieties of fish, especially piranhas, had everyone mesmerized.



A second favorite was the hotel. “The bathroom was so nice,” Kelly said. Gary, meanwhile, took full advantage of the complimentary breakfast.

“He tried everything on the menu,” Shelly joked.

The three really bonded during this memorable vacation. Gary bought the birthday boy a present, a White Sox ball cap. Gary liked it so much he got one for himself, too.



They have already started planning their next trip.

“I want to go to Vegas!” Gary said. Derrick, who’s not a fan of long road trips, says, “I’ll go to St. Louis next year.”