To most folks, that official-looking document that came with Loretta and Monty Reed's new home is simply a property deed.

But to the Reeds, it's a declaration of residential - if not psychological - independence.The couple, which hosted a modest housewarming party Friday evening, obtained their home this past month with the help of the Easter Seal Society of Utah and the State Division of Services for People with Disabilities.

It's not exactly a mansion, by conventional standards. White aluminum siding and cinder block construction won't get you in the July edition of Modern Living.

But with three bedrooms, a finished basement and healthy gardens front and back, 49-year-old Monty Reed has finally found the home of his dreams.

"It's very nice," he said, surveying a front room that is a little short on furniture right now.

Not everyone can understand Monty when he speaks, but the sweeping smile generated by the pride of ownership in his first home was more eloquent than any 10,000 words.

For years, the Reeds and their two sons have lived in a small two-bedroom apartment while they scrimped and sacrificed to set aside a down payment.

And when they finally moved, they covered a lot more distance than just the couple of miles that lies between the old apartment and their new home.

Calculated in terms of personal and family independence, it was more like a couple of light-years.

Self-determination, said Clair Mantonya of Easter Seals, is the new buzzword for agencies working with people who have disabilities. "We try to help them become more independent and get control of their lives.

"And this (housewarming) is really a fine example" of that concept in action, she added.

Loretta Reed, 39, seemed a little overwhelmed by the well-wishers who dropped by Friday. Some brought gifts to help the family with needed household items.

"Loretta really has a big heart" and has always shared whatever she had

with others, said Linda Stone, of Easter Seals' family support staff, who drops by three or four times a week to work with the Reed family.

"It has been really great to see people give back to her," Stone said. "But we still have a lot left to do. They don't have much."

She said the Reeds are hoping to obtain some furniture, paint and several other household items with the help from their local church, neighbors and other donors.

"We really need things to help fix up," the Easter Seals staffer noted. "The family also needs a dishwasher, a refrigerator and freezer.

"There is no heating system downstairs except for a wood-burning stove, and they really need a higher efficiency furnace" and a way to pipe the heat to other parts of the basement before winter comes, Stone said.

The Easter Seals worker also hopes to find someone who may be willing donate a basketball pole and backboard for the two boys, ages 13 and 9.

"There's still a lot to do here," Stone added.

But for Loretta and Monty, they've already come a long way since they were married 14 years ago. Further, perhaps, than they ever dreamed they would come.

And for the first time, Monty said, the family will have two bathrooms instead of one. He expects both his life and his marriage will be better with two bathrooms.

But his favorite part of the new Reed homestead? You'll have to step outside for that one.

"It's my garden," he said. `Want to see it?"