Walkers head out of the Butterfield Family Pavilion during the Walk for Recovery in Valparaiso, Ind., Saturday, May 12, 2012. The walk was a fundraiser for Respite House, Moraine House and Alice's House. | Andy Lavalley~Sun-Times Media
Alice’s Halfway House for Women, 462-7600, www.alicesvalpo.org
Moraine House, 464- 9983, www.recoveryaccess.org
Respite House, 548-1300, www.respitehouse.org
Updated: July 2, 2012 9:45AM
They told their stories, one by one, of helplessness, addiction, desperation and, finally, hope.
The speakers at the sixth annual Walk for Recovery shared their histories May 12 at Fairground Park, and talked about how Valparaiso’s three recovery houses — Alice’s Halfway House for Women, Moraine House and Respite House — gave them the strength and support they needed to overcome their addictions and put their lives back together.
There was Denise Elliott, originally from Illinois, who arrived at Alice’s House when she had nowhere else to go after leaving a dysfunctional family and rehab. “There’s always someone there to talk to, and I think that’s really important,” she said.
Jason Phillips came to Moraine House two days before Christmas “hanging by a thread” and left the following summer holding his head high. “I was a little scared,” he said, “but they had definitely opened my heart.”
Brandon Welshan landed at Respite House after serving a sentence at Westville Correctional Facility for burglary, which he committed to support a drug habit. He felt like a failure to his young son, but now is “three and a half years clean, trustworthy and happy.”
All three facilities, said Jeff Dewes, president of Moraine House and chair of this year’s walk, allow people hit with addiction to get their lives back together.
“It’s an amazing thing to be a part of that,” he said.
This year’s three-mile walk drew about 150 participants. Last year’s event raised about $12,000, Dewes said; money raised by the fundraiser helps pay for the programs for those who can’t afford them.
One of the things makes Valparaiso such a great community is its nonprofit agencies, said Mayor Jon Costas.
“Life is a beautiful thing but it can be tough at times,” he said. “That’s why you guys are out here — you understand that.”
Porter County Sheriff David Lain said he’s seen some ugly things in his time in law enforcement, but that does not diminish his drive to work to end addiction.
“I don’t think there’s a person in this county who hasn’t been touched by the problems we’re trying to solve,” he said.