Hope in the Hills presents donation to Recovery Point

December 22, 2018

HUNTINGTON - In October, Rachel Thaxton took a van of folks from Huntington’s Recovery Point to the West Virginia State Fairgrounds in Greenbrier County to experience the first Healing Appalachia: A Concert to Fight Addiction in Appalachia.

While the memories remain strong from that magic night of music and testimonies of recovery, this week they all got one more lasting souvenir of sorts from the concert.

On Wednesday night, three of the founding board members, Ian Thornton, Keebie Gilkerson and Sam Sarcone, of Hope in the Hills, which put on the concert, stopped by Recovery Point to hand over $8,500 - enough money to fund a bed and person in recovery for a full year.

That check is the first of two that will be given out by Hope in the Hills, as Thornton, who is also the manager for the concert’s headliner, Tyler Childers, will be in Louisville, Kentucky, next Saturday, Dec. 29, when Childers will deliver an $8,500 check to The Healing Place in Louisville.

Thornton said they hope to make that presentation onstage at the first of three sold-out Childers’ concerts at The Louisville Palace theater.

Hope in the Hills is also donating $2,400 to Beckley Fellowship Home, $1,000 to Warm Hands for Warm Hearts and $600 to Jacob’s Ladder for a total of $21,000.

Thaxton, the director of development at Recovery Point, said they appreciate the donation and the experience at the Oct. 6 concert that featured Childers, Kelsey Waldon, Justin Wells, The Wild Rumpus and The Half Bad Bluegrass Band.

Held at the State Fair of West Virginia fairgrounds, the Healing Appalachia concert drew 2,400 people (1,766 paid) and included about 300 to 400 folks from around Appalachia in recovery at the show. They shared their testimonies of the power of addiction and the hope of recovery from the stage.

“I think they were appreciative and they really had a good time cutting loose and hanging out with each other and enjoying the fellowship in a safe environment,” Thaxton said of folks from Recovery Point. “They had a really good time. We want people to live in this world but not of this world, so this was a good experience for them to be exposed to. They are still talking about it.”

The concert idea was dreamed up by Lewisburg, West Virginia-based music promoter Charlie Hatcher, who is part of Thornton’s Whizzbang BAM (Booking and Management) team.

Hatcher, who at age 41 said he has been to more funerals than weddings, had three friends in active recovery who spoke during the day. He said the idea for using the power of music to impact change came to him after one more friend died.

While the concert was a great start, Hope in the Hills is laying the groundwork for even bigger concerts that Thornton described in the spirit and style of Willie Nelson’s Farm Aid.

Thornton said the Hope in the Hills board will meet again in early January and has already chosen the date for next fall during National Recovery Month, which is in September.

“It was a long time coming to put this thing together this year,” Thornton said. “We were trying to do September originally, but physically with the fairgrounds and other things it made more sense for October. Next year we are going to have it the last Saturday in September, Sept. 28.”

Thaxton said she appreciates Hope in the Hills making an impact at Recovery Point, which has grown from 20 beds back in 2011 when it was known as The Healing Place to now hundreds of beds for those in recovery in Huntington, Parkersburg, Charleston, Bluefield and at Recovery Point HER Place in Huntington. At Recovery Point Huntington alone there are 110 beds.

“We have been very fortunate that people in the community have been very supportive and generous,” Thaxton said. “We do rely heavily on state funding and foundation grants and things like that. I think that the more we can sustain our operations through generous donations, the more secure we are going to feel going forward. ... It is an honor that our mission and vision was deemed worthy by such an awesome cause, and it also sets an example for everyone else in the community.

“It shows people that we are a cause that is worthy of supporting.”

Learn more

To learn more about Healing Appalachia, visit www.healingappalachia.org.

To learn more about Recovery Point, go online at www.recoverypointwv.org.

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