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PBS documentary tells story of local man who was patient at Rosewood

March 22, 2011|By DAVE McMILLION | davem@herald-mail.com

Steven Corderman, a Washington County resident who was a patient at the now-closed Rosewood Center, went through “hell,” his father recalls in a documentary film about the troubled state mental-health facility.

Corderman was sometimes put in a straitjacket, and other times he would fight people, requiring at least three people to control him, said his father, Nelson Corderman.

“I think about Jesus up in heaven. And I pray about Jesus to get me out of this place,” Steven Corderman said in the documentary about the closing of the Rosewood Center.

Debunking doubters who didn’t believe it was possible, Steven was able to move into a place of his own across from Hagerstown Community College. His story is told in a heart-wrenching 30-minute documentary scheduled to air on Maryland Public Television on Wednesday at 8 p.m.

Gov. Martin O’Malley announced the closure of the Rosewood Center in Owings Mills, Md., in January 2008. In addition to being plagued with allegations of abuse and neglect, the facility for the treatment of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities was also under fire because of problems it had with clients with criminal backgrounds.

Rosewood residents were moved into smaller settings which included several people living together in a home or residents having their own place.

Many people did not believe Corderman — who has the mental capacity of an 8-year-old — could live on his own, Tina Fink, his support broker, said in the documentary.

But Corderman, 36, has been living in his apartment off Robinwood Drive for two years. There is always a support person with him in his apartment, and Corderman helps with daily chores like cooking and grocery shopping, said his mother, Sib Corderman.

Those involved the film were looking for a Rosewood resident who had a good story to tell and would be willing to have it told, said Brian Cox, executive director of the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council.

“Steven’s story is the one that really emerged as a good story to tell,” Cox said.

Corderman’s mother said her son dreams about working, but that has been tough with the job market.
 
“It’s difficult making him understand with the economy,” Sib Corderman said.

She said seeing the film was an emotional experience, especially considering a picture of Corderman sitting at the end of a bed was used for the cover of the DVD.

“It broke my heart,” Sib Corderman said.

Steven Corderman was an adopted child. The Cordermans lived in the West Washington Street area and the Cearfoss area when their children were growing up.

To see a preview of the film, go to: www.medschoolmarylandproductions.umaryland.edu/projects/departingrosewood.html

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