There are currently five 12-step meetings in Harrison every day along with Celebrate Recovery meeting once a week.  “There is a need,” Recovery Center of the Ozarks board member Bob Largent said.

Board member and secretary Dr. Rodney Arnold said, “The focus is on local assistance. We have the support of law enforcement, the judge and mayor. Now we are looking to earn the support of the community.”

“One of the main focuses is on the 150 men in the Boone County Jail,” Scott Swanson said. “120 of them got there because of drug-related charges. They don’t all need to be in jail. They need to become clean and sober. We can’t take all 120 of them, but we will take those who are willing to get well over time and become productive members of society.”

Sheriff Roy Martin told the board, “Everybody out here is behind you. Let us know what we can do to help.” 

Executive Director Rodney Beaver said, “Sheriff Martin has been a man of his word since that statement.”

Swanson continued, “With Bob Largent on our board, this has also become an economic development opportunity. This is helping men who can’t be part of the workforce because they are in drug addiction. We want to train them to be successful men, contributing to society and live life based on guiding principles.”

As the initial chairman, Dr. Dawn Phelps led the board through the beginning journey. Phelps shared, “A close friend graduated from Drug Court and then graduated from law school. Another close friend got hooked after one dose of pain meds prescribed by the doctor following a surgery. In some people, there is a chemical in the brain that can begin an addictive behavior after only one dose.”

Swanson said, “When the public hears the word ‘addict’ it scares them to death, but it doesn’t need to. The men living in this program will be going to meetings several times a day, provide hundreds of hours of community service and be introduced to structured living in a productive atmosphere. They want to get clean and straighten up their life. That’s what these guys will be doing every day. Help them by accepting them. Tell them, ‘Thank you for trying to get well.’”

If the men do not abide by the program standards, they will not be allowed to stay. 

Former board member and River of Life Pastor Mike Thomas said, “I live and pastor in this community. We are all here to make Boone County a better place. My people have heard me say many times, ‘Hard times create strong men. Strong men create good times. Good times create weak men. Weak men create hard times. It’s a never-ending cycle.’ I’ve sent several men to other places and wished we had something right here. I’d like to see other churches and pastors get involved financially, and to help with the daily Bible teaching.”

Yolande Watson and Heath Kirkpatrick are also former board members who have contributed their time and effort to this cause during the early years to help make this program what it is today. 

“The community has been a blessing as we prepared to open the Recovery Center,” Beaver exclaimed when asked about his interactions with the public. “It’s been amazing seeing people open their arms to our recovery efforts.”

Donna Braymer [email protected]