PDT Staff Writer
Four years ago, Tracy Bell was 21 when she was first on a waiting list to get into Freedom Hall at the New Beginnings Drug Rehabilitation facility in Pike County. She died of an overdose while waiting. Now, her father, Brock Bell, an insurance executive with Brotherhood Mutual Insurance, of Ft. Wayne, Ind., is on a mission to try to make sure there is a lot more room for women at New Beginnings.
“It was just upsetting to me that there wasn’t a place for her to go, so I came down here and got to meet Angie (Pelphrey), and it has always been my mission since then to try to see what I could do just to come down here and help them,” Bell said. “They had a vision of expanding so they can hold more girls. They can only hold eight girls in a wee little house here, so we were blessed and raised money from some different sources and we have a shell of a building up now that can house 18 women, as well as a center for games and where they will be able to hold their meetings and things.”
Pelphrey said she has seen an increase in people on the waiting list dying before New Beginnings could help.
“We are seeing people dying on our waiting list,” Pelphrey said. “We are turning people away. With only being able to house eight women, and a lot of people without the insurance, being able to come here is huge for them, because they just don’t have the finances. So if they re able to get on our waiting list, they’re waiting three and four months to get in, and our fear is that more are going to be dying, and we are seeing that.”
Pelphrey said they have had three or four who have died over the last several years waiting to get into the facility.
“Being able to house 18-24 women now is going to make a huge difference and have a huge impact on our community,” Pelphrey said.
Brotherhood insures churches, and as a part of their business, employees do mission trips, so Bell and others were in Piketon this week to help with the work that needs to be done in the new women’s facility.
“We came down and helped repaint and re-do a lot of things in the men’s hall,” Bell said. “And then when Barry (Pelphrey) and Angie were able to raise the money, we got the (women’s) building started. So we’re down here this week to hang some drywall, and to try to help them save some money and to help get this thing completed.”
New Beginnings, a 501(c)(3) non-profit operation, is a long-term drug rehab center that offers a nine to 12 month inpatient system to deal with addiction.
“We’re also faith based,” Pelphrey said. “They do go to church. But being long-term, we teach them a whole new way of life and skills - you know, how to work a job; how to maintain work and work with their kids, getting their children back; getting a GED; getting a college diploma. We house them from all over.”
Pelphrey said women have come to Freedom Hall from places like Texas, Alabama, Florida and Colorado.
“We’re out of money as of this week,” Bell said. “We’re waiting on the sprinkling system and HVAC, so we just do it as the money comes in. We’re at a standstill. We were shooting for June last year, but that’s not going to happen. We’re hoping if we get blessed it will be this fall or spring. The money is what it is all about right now.”
Pelphrey said anyone wanting to help with the expenses incurred in creating the new facility can make donations in care of Freedom Hall, 2266 Wakefield Mound Rd., Piketon, Ohio, 45661.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Frank on Twitter @FrankLewisPDT.