Jeremiah Saucier founded Hope Recovery Center (HRC) in 2015 with a vision: “to get the addiction out of the way, so the human being can live.” As the nonprofit plans its second major fundraiser July 22, it is closer to making that vision a reality. In early June, HRC learned that Pierce County Planning and Land Services had done a preliminary review of the concept and determined it could move forward under a conditional-use-permit application process.
“We don’t have a guarantee of approval, but it’s a huge step forward,” Saucier said.
Saucier lives on the Key Peninsula and is director of Crossroads Treatment Center, an outpatient addiction treatment program in Lakewood. Crossroads recently established a referral line at the Key Center Community Council office and trained volunteer staff about confidentiality to handle calls appropriately. Saucier provides consultations a few days a week on the Key Peninsula to help arrange treatment and has seen firsthand the impact of addiction in the community.
Transportation to appointments is a major problem for KP residents seeking treatment and there are not enough residential treatment programs in the state, Saucier said. HRC plans to establish a residential treatment program on the KP that will include chemical dependency and mental health therapy, an outpatient program for continued recovery, life-skills classes and employment training.
Pierce County Councilman Derek Young (D-7th) is supportive. Citing an estimate by The New York Times based on public health data, he said that nationwide, last year there were 65,000 deaths due to overdoses—more than double the number of deaths from car crashes—and the numbers continue to rise.
“The need is clear,” Young said. “We aren’t going to arrest or lecture our way out of this problem. We need good treatment programs. If we are going to get people in rural areas the treatment they need, we need to locate programs in the area.”
One of the first steps in building a treatment center on the KP was to identify a site.
Scott Ludlow, a board member of the Lakebay Community Church, heard about HRC last summer and was intrigued. The church had been given nearly 8 acres in Lakebay in the early 2000s and planned to build a large complex. Over time, the church decided not to move forward, but the congregation had always hoped the land could “bless the community and benefit the church,” he said.
Ludlow, Saucier and the pastors from other local churches went to look at the land together. “It was an amazing moment,” Ludlow said. “We were stunned by the beautiful land and moved forward, working with the congregation to write a memorandum of understanding, allowing HRC to use the site as a location for their project.”
When asked how he would respond to residents who might say, “Not in my back yard” to a treatment center, Saucier said, “This problem is already in our back yard. Bringing treatment to the Key Peninsula brings hope and a path forward.”
Getting to the next phases of the HRC plan will require funding. HRC has hired Sound Resources NW, a consulting group, to help with grant writing and fundraising as well as updating the mission, vision and business plan.
Two fund- and friend-raisers are planned this summer.
The Guns-N-Hoses softball tournament will be hosted July 22 at Volunteer Park at 1 p.m. Three teams will play: The Pierce County Sheriff’s Department and KP Fire Department will each have teams and the new Recovery team is also entering the competition this year. There is no charge, but donations are welcome. For more information, contact Jeremiah Saucier at 253-348-0463 or Claudia Jones at 253-884-2054.
On Aug. 18, the Neighbors Helping Neighbors Golf Tournament at Horseshoe Lake Golf Course will benefit both the Red Barn and HRC. It is a four-person scramble format starting at 1 p.m. Hole sponsors are welcome for $300 and tickets are $95 per person.
For more information, contact Scott Ludlow at 253-222-4234 or firstname.lastname@example.org.