Huron Co. Peer Recovery Community Center to be ‘lighthouse for recovery’

peer recovery

The director of the new Huron County Peer Recovery Community Center wants residents to know it’s a place where “it’s OK not to be OK.”

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Michael Pack considers the center a place where a 12-step program meets a community center “all in one,” where anybody on their journey to sobriety or addressing their addiction is welcome.

“We’re creating a lighthouse for recovery. … Anyone is welcome,” he said. “It’s the first one in northwest Ohio.”

The Huron County Peer Recovery Community Center is located at 30 Shady Lane in Norwalk. There are three full-time staff members, all of whom live in the city — Stephanie Clifton, Cori Marocco and James Matthews.

The center is having its grand opening Dec. 2. The ribbon-cutting is at 5 p.m., followed by a press conference at 6 and a “recovery concert” at 7. The performers include: Antonio Lopez, of Milan; Huron County native Matt Hall, who is returning from Florida; Tommy Guns, from Detroit; Isaac Rivera and Manny Mendez.

The Huron County Peer Recovery Community Center is part of FI Community Housing, Inc., a non-profit organization. CEO Dennis Wilson couldn’t be reached for comment.

Pack said the community center is for “long-term recovery from substance abuse disorders and/or mental health conditions.” Also, he said it’s aimed for those people seeking recovery from drug addiction and/or alcoholism or those who need help in maintaining recovery and their family members “who have addicted love ones to help them understand and receive recovery.”

Pack’s friend and a member of one of the 12-step programs, Scott Summerlin, said he expected the center to have large impact on the community. He said it’s “something the community needs.”

“It is going to stay a lot lives,” he said. “Being in the recovery community myself, I think this is a tremendous resource and it’s going to fill a large gap in what we really need help with.”

In the future, the center expects to host or coordinate support for family members of children who have died from overdoses, will host authors and “sober activities” such as card games and movies. Pack said family members of drug addicts will learn how to do “room sweeps” to find drug paraphernalia.

Also, the center looks to partner with “every county agency and resident” to combat the opioid crisis and drug epidemic, he said. Center officials want to work with the Huron County Jail, Fisher-Titus Medical Center, churches, the probation department, Huron County Public Health and the local Quick Response Team.

“That way we’re a better community,” Pack said, emphasizing that the community center is for all Huron County residents.

When asked why Norwalk was chosen as the site for the center, Pack said “the community hasn’t changed” and “the users’ buddies are still there,” so addicts need a safe place to be after and/or while being in treatment.

“We can help them with any treatment they need,” he added.

“I’m looking forward just how much hope this center will give the community,” Summerlin added. “I think this is going to give a beacon of light for the community.”

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