|Shepherd’s Shelter awarded large grant
By Tom Marshall
Senior Advocate writer
Clients, staff, volunteers and public officials gathered Saturday at Shepherd’s Shelter for a celebration of a $167,400 grant that has been awarded to the facility.
Shepherd’s Shelter is a non-profit, faith-based substance abuse recovery center in the former Annie Walker Nursing Home building. It provides treatment to those suffering from addiction by empowering clients to take responsibility of their recovery through life management skills and coping strategies, according to a release.
The State Targeted Response grant will allow the facility to hire more personnel in order to meet requirements to receive a Behavioral Health Services Only certification.
This certification will allow the shelter to accept several forms of insurance that had not been possible until now, said Wayne Ross, director of the facility.
Pastor Ross invited the public to the shelter Saturday to celebrate the occasion.
“Our organization has helped many Kentuckians obtain a job, find a home, and, most rewardingly, reunite with their children,” he said in a statement. “We survived for 11 years by the grace of God and the prayers of the community. This grant answers our prayers by giving us the financial support to obtain our Behavioral Health Services Only certification and allow us to provide additional services to individuals suffering from addiction. We are thankful to Congressman (Andy) Barr and his office for the support we received throughout the application process and we appreciate his advocacy for those in recovery.”
Ross told those in attendance that he would like to eventually build some small homes on the shelter grounds where clients could live temporarily while going through the transition process.
The shelter already operates a transition home in downtown Mt. Sterling.
Three speakers at the event spoke of the difference Shepherd’s Shelter has made in their lives.
One was Maggie Blanton, a recovering heroin addict who recently celebrated three years of sobriety. Blanton said she had been addicted to heroin for 10 years before she came to the shelter.
Before Shepherd’s Shelter Blanton said she had no love, no goals and no interest in life.
Blanton said she believes that God led her to Shepherd’s Shelter, where she has built a relationship with her Savior and is now part of the staff.
“They set a dream off in my mind and I have decided to stick around,” Blanton said of Pastor Ross and his wife, Jeanette.
Another personal testimony came from Jenell Brewer of the Spark recovery program in Powell County.
Brewer said her nephew was addicted to oxycontin and was facing up to 40 years in prison for two robberies when she convinced Pastor Ross to take him even though his family had no ability to pay.
The nephew is now clean and has a successful job as a licensed electrician.
Brewer said she couldn’t be more thankful for Pastor Ross and his wife.
The third speaker was Gwen Cole, an addiction survivor who credited Wayne and Jeanette Ross for saving her life from 20 years of drug addiction.
Cole now serves as a peer support specialist at the facility.
Pastor Ross also recognized Kentucky State University for their role in providing life skills for clients in the recovery process before they eventually circulate back into society.
Several KSU representatives were in attendance.
Congressman Barr, R-Lexington, attended the event and spoke of the importance of facilities like Shepherd’s Shelter in facing the nation’s growing drug epidemic.
“As the commonwealth continues to fight substance abuse throughout our communities, it’s important we support organizations that provide recovery service to those in need,” Barr said in a statement. “So many of the stories coming from this crisis are tragedy, but not-for-profits, like Shepherd’s Shelter, provide Kentuckians with the hope needed to live a life free from addiction. Today’s grant announcement represents the dedicated services of Shepherd’s Shelter and I look forward to the great work they will provide Kentuckians in their progress toward long-term recovery.”
In 2016, Barr supported the 21st Century Cures Act that authorized record levels of funding to states on the front lines of the substance abuse crisis and established the State Targeted Response (STR) grant program.
In addition to substance abuse treatment, Pastor Ross noted that the shelter also provides a food and clothing ministry to residents in Montgomery and surrounding counties.