The dream of the House of Hope is now a reality

Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: Kathy Grimes, Graham County Substance Abuse Coalition Executive Director, left, and Marge Schade, CEO Southeastern Bottling, prepare to cut the ribbon for the House of Hope Prevention & Resource Center.

Numerous community members on hand for ribbon-cutting and tour

By Jon Johnson

Jon Johnson Video/Gila Herald

SAFFORD – A variety of community members were on hand Friday at the House of Hope Prevention & Resource Center ribbon cutting, which took place just over a year since its groundbreaking.

It was fitting as the community itself has assisted with this project, whether by donations of money, goods, or services, to help those determined volunteers who oversaw the project from its formation.

On Friday, Marge Schade – CEO Southeastern Bottling, and Graham County Substance Abuse Coalition Executive Director Kathy Grimes ceremonially cut the ribbon opening the facility. 

The House of Hope is set on a one-acre lot just east of the Pepsi plant off 1st Street. The land, which was formerly part of a cotton field, was donated by Marge Schade, founder and CEO of Southeastern Bottling, which operates the Pepsi bottling plant on 8th Avenue. Part of the land was also secured through a land swap with local developer Ted Prina.  

The House of Hope Prevention & Resource Center is a project brought forth from the Graham County Substance Abuse Coalition. Numerous donors assisted with funds to build the facility, and local businesses donated or vastly discounted their goods and services to build and furnish the home.

Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: The House of Hope is open for business.

On Friday, Grimes and Graham County Supervisor John Howard (R-Dist. 2) spoke at the ribbon-cutting. Howard thanked all who helped with the project and announced board members for the facility. The center is over three years in the making.  

The multiple-bed facility will house male residents who have gone through a rehabilitation facility and are transitioning back into society. The 4,000-square-foot-building has a full-time facilitator on the property and features a meeting room, laundry room, computer center, a common area, and outdoor facilities. Kenny Gowin was named as the facilitator/house manager. The facility reportedly cost more than $400,000 to build.  

Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: Graham County Supervisor John Howard gives his wife, Jenny Howard, a hug. The House of Hope was an important project they have worked on for years.

Graham County Sheriff P.J. Allred was one of the many distinguished guests to tour the facility. He said he believes it has the chance to change lives. 

“For those who want to change, this could be a good thing,” Allred said. 

Rep. Tom O’Halleran was in town touring various spots on Friday and also attended the ribbon-cutting. He praised the efforts in its construction and spoke briefly about substance abuse and mental health. He added that, due to the pandemic, there will be more federal dollars in the pipeline to fund aid for those issues. 

Graham County Republican Chairman John Duane Rhodes also briefly spoke at the event and read a letter of congratulation to the House of Hope attributed to Governor Doug Ducey.

In addition to Schade and Grimes, Jan Napier and Jenny Howard were also recognized for their valiant efforts in helping the project and movement. Jenny Howard also serves as the president on the House of Hope’s board.

Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: Marge Schade was presented with flowers to acknowledge her help with the project.

Schade told the Gila Herald that she was glad she lived long enough to see the facility built. 

“I’m going to be 98 in July and I’ve lost all three of my children,” Schade said. “So, I didn’t know what God had in store for me, but maybe he wanted me to help . . .”  

The House of Hope will work in conjunction with the courts, Graham County Probation, and a local treatment facility to review and suggest applicants. Those who wish to have a spot need to test clean and be coming from a rehab. If chosen, the patient will then be offered a spot, which will cost them $185 per week. The amount of time suggested to be spent at the facility is capped at about three months.

If successful, there is a possibility of expansion to the east for a second building that could house female residents.  

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