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Community leaders call Emerge a ‘crown jewel for our county’

Hundreds attend ribbon cutting, open house at Emerge

XENIA — Hundreds of community leaders and people in long-term recovery celebrated the opening of the men’s space at Emerge Recovery and Trade Initiative on June 16 with a ribbon cutting ceremony and open house that was a huge success. Elaine Bonner, director of philanthropy at Emerge, spoke to the group gathered Friday morning during the official ribbon cutting ceremony. 

“Starting on Monday, men with substance use disorders will have the opportunity to enter our doors, reside in this space and complete a certification in the skilled trades,” Bonner said during the open house. “Because of you all, Emerge will eliminate barriers for people trying to re-enter society.” 

Community leaders continued to describe Emerge as being very “innovative and holistic.” 

The men’s recovery space, which is located inside the former Greene County Career Center, was dedicated to the Greene County Commissioners in light of the county’s $1 million grant to get the project started. 

“This is a complete ecosystem of care,” Bonner said.  “When I think of Emerge, I think of kindness. I think of the power of community, second chances, perseverance, servant leadership and a massive leap of faith. . . Paying it forward is when the recipient of good fortune invests in someone else. Investing in hope is not just about the person; it will also deliver a positive return on investment for the community as well. Certainly, Greene County has paid it forward with a major investment in Emerge. Christian Life Center has also paid it forward with our new pavilion and outdoor center in the works.” 

Bonner and others applauded Emerge’s three cofounders — which include Chris Adams of Narrow Path Plumbing, Kip Morris of Five Star Home Services, and Doug Van Dyke of Van Martin Roofing — for their vision. All three men, using their local companies, have been offering people in recovery “second chances” for many years. They saw Emerge and its trade school as an opportunity to do this at a larger scale and with the need for qualified skilled workers ever-increasing, the vision has resonated with community leaders and elected officials throughout the state. 

In addition to various local and state leaders, the Greene County Commissioners, Congressman Mike Turner’s Office, State Rep. Bryan Lampton, Xenia Mayor Sara Mays, Fairborn Mayor Paul Keller, Beavercreek Mayor Bob Stone, Cedarville Mayor John Cody, Judge Chris Epley of the second district court of appeals, Greene County Sheriff Scott J. Anger and many others attended the ribbon cutting ceremony.  

“I want to first thank Elaine for everything she’s done and everything she has brought to the table, as well as all the staff here,” Van Dyke said. “It has been two years. We like to move fast. It took a year longer than we would have liked. However, I don’t know if we could have planned this. We just had to go. To those of you who believed in this, it truly means a lot to us. We are sowing hope here. We have the opportunity to change lives.” 

Sandra Brasington, the Western Ohio Regional Liaison for Gov. Mike DeWine’s office, spoke at the ceremony and gave a proclamation from the governor’s office. 

“There’s never enough opportunities for folks to get in and get the help they need,” Brasington said. “You open, and instantly you’ll have a waiting list. Thank you for what you’re doing. You’re doing it in an amazing and different way and you’re thinking outside the box. We need that. We also need to change lives for the future and for the workforce. Thank you to all of you who are invested in this and who support this. You’re going to need support behind you. There are going to be days when you’re going to think: What am I doing?” 

Community leaders also thanked the founders for what they’ve been doing to open the school, which is the first of its kind in the world. 

“I think the Emerge Recovery and Trade Initiative is a ‘crown jewel’ for our county,” Greene County Sheriff Scott J. Anger said. “They offer a great resource for training individuals to get back into the workforce and to have hope for a bright future. It is extremely important for our community to have positive paths like Emerge for individuals in recovery to follow to lead them to positive outcomes and long-term recovery. These initiatives help to improve the overall quality of life for all of our citizens.” 

Greene County Commissioners Rick Perales and Tom Koogler agreed. 

“You’re thinking outside the box,” Commissioner Perales said. “You’re going to need the help and support behind you. Two years ago, I remember hearing about this. We were struggling with the drug problem. We were also struggling with the lack of skilled trade labor force. When I heard the vision for this, I was amazed. We’ve never been as excited about a program like this. We believe this will be a model for the nation. We have something very special here.” 

After the ribbon cutting ceremony, Emerge hosted an open house and gave free tours to members of the community. Hundreds of community members, recovery community leaders, counselors, local clergy and others were on site throughout the day. 

“It was refreshing to attend a ribbon cutting ceremony where the people who are served by the mission of Emerge were present and well represented,” said Michelle L. Riley, CEO of the Foodbank, Inc. “It is a sign of good leadership and mission empowerment when those who serve the mission and those who support the mission are in the same room. Emerge has a mission worth investing in. We often talk about equity work. Hire for head and heart and train for the rest. Emerge walks this walk.” 

Riley said Emerge’s impact on economic mobility is a “win, win for our community.” 

“It was an honor to witness and celebrate the official unveiling and ribbon cutting of the Emerge Recovery and Trade Initiative,” said Amanda DeLotelle, Executive Director and Cofounder of Miami Valley Meals. “Many people came out to celebrate this truly joyous occasion and honor the creation of a compassionate space where those in recovery can heal while developing skills for future progress. Emerge Recovery and Trade Initiative builds hope and will fill an essential need for qualified tradespeople in our region. Congratulations to the Emerge team for bringing this vision to life!” 

Greene County Director of Development, Eric M. Henry, said he was honored to attend and felt the ceremony went extremely well.  

“What I like most about Emerge is the compassionate leadership of its founders,” he said. “I have always been impressed with their vision for making Greene County a community of second chances where we value trade skills and good old-fashioned mid-western work ethics. While a lot of organizations have powerful vision statements at their core, Emerge stands above many of its peers through its focus on strong strategic planning that clearly articulates the need for effective non-profits to have strong business foundations. It has been great watching the Emerge team succeed, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for them.” 

Brittini Long, Senior Program Coordinator-Prevention & Early Intervention at Montgomery County Alcohol Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services said she really appreciates how the Emerge founders have taken a cutting-edge approach to creating a recovery ecosystem that can meet the myriad of supports an individual walking the recovery journey may need. Long is also a member on the Emerge board of trustees. 

“Coupling treatment with workforce development is a great way to change the way we view addiction and recovery, as it impacts not only the individual, but the family, community, local businesses, and our overall community well-being,” Long said. “I am excited to see Emerge become a model for the nation in addressing the whole person and creating opportunities for individuals to find meaning and purpose on their recovery journey.” 

Since June 16, the Men’s Recovery Housing program launched with 16 men currently residing on the Emerge campus. To reach the Clinical Team, call 937.272.4925 ext.2.

For more information, to donate or get involved contact Elaine Bonner, Director of Philanthropy at Emerge at 937.974.6120 or visit https://www.emergerecoverytrade.com/