MANCHESTER – Nearly nine years to the day after Chad’s Hope Teen Challenge Center admitted its first client for treatment of a substance use disorder, three young men celebrated completion of the nine-month program.

Among those present for the March 3 celebration were U.S. Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers (KY-5th); Scott Brinkman, Secretary of the Executive Cabinet for Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin; Charlie McWhorter, who donated land for the center following his son’s overdose death in 2004; and Wendell Carmack, Executive Director of Chad’s Hope and a founding board member for Visions of Eastern Kentucky, which had the original concept for a recovery center in Clay County.

View photos from the ceremony.

“You can do things powerful and big,” Rogers told those attending the ceremony. “The only thing more powerful than drugs is the love of Christ … the power of faith.”

Carmack, in recounting the history of Chad’s Hope, credited Rogers for securing funding to construct the facility at a time when government and faith-based weren’t often spoken in the same breath – and during a period when treatment beds were nearly non-existent in southern and eastern Kentucky.

Since its opening, more than 700 men have come through the program, Carmack said.

Grant funding for construction was channeled through Operation UNITE, which served as fiscal agent for the project.

UNITE’s approach toward reversing the quickly expanding prescription drug epidemic in the region – through law enforcement, treatment and education grassroots initiatives – has since been heralded as a model for the nation, Rogers stated. “CARA (the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act passed in December) is a holistic approach based on UNITE.”

“We don’t receive taxpayer funding,” Carmack noted. “The work that we do is mostly privately funded by churches, businesses and individuals who partner with us.”

“We win these battles one by one,” Brinkman said, praising the individuals who stepped up to make Chad’s Hope a reality. “There is nothing more powerful than watching Kentuckians helping Kentuckians.”

Located in the Burning Springs community just west of Manchester, the facility offers long-term residential treatment programs for men aged 18 and older. The facility, opened by Visions of Eastern Kentucky, admitted its first client on March 6, 2008. Operations were turned over to Teen Challenge in 2009.

Chad’s Hope Teen Challenge provides an effective and comprehensive Christian faith-based solution to life controlling drug and alcohol problems in order to become productive members of society. Chad’s Hope Teen Challenge endeavors to help people become mentally sound, emotionally balanced, socially adjusted, physically well, and spiritually alive.