Eight months ago, Leroy Markland was sitting in his car in a Lynchburg parking lot. He felt like that car was all he had left.
“I hit bottom. Things were falling apart,” he said of his substance abuse. “My wife had left. She took the dog. I lost my house, lost my job, and pretty much lost everything. So I prayed and asked God what to do.”
A short time later, Leroy began a detox program and made his way to The Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center in Richmond. “That’s where my journey started,” he said. “When I got here, I knew I had to change everything.”
In October, Leroy graduated from The Salvation Army’s 6-month drug and alcohol rehabilitation program. He is now in the Rehabilitation Center’s transitional program, which will assist him in finding employment and a place to live. Since his rehabilitation, Leroy has also begun volunteering. He has become a spiritual leader at The Salvation Army’s Citadel Corps, the Salvation Army’s church on the south side of Richmond, leading the Men’s Ministry and teaching a Celebrate Recovery Class at the Rehabilitation Center. “In the process of helping someone else, you’re helping yourself,” Leroy said.
“Sometimes, I’m overwhelmed when I think back where my life was just eight months ago. I was stressed over everything. I had no clue where I was going, no direction. I actually thought my life was over at fifty-eight,” he said. “After getting clean again, I started thinking clearly. Slowly but surely, my confidence started coming back. I realized I still have a life ahead of me.”
Major Michael Morton, administrator of the Rehabilitation Center, said that’s what the program is all about.
“It’s to catch the people who are falling,” said Major Morton. “In a lot of cases, they burn the bridges with family. They think they are useless to their families and have no hope to reestablish relationships.”
Founded as the Men’s Industrial Home in 1920, today’s facility in Richmond (near The Diamond on Hermitage Road) houses up to eighty-one men recovering from substance abuse. The men receive shelter, structured work-therapy, counseling, access to 12-step programs, and spiritual recovery opportunities.
Graduates gain the support and skills they need to push forward.
“These are the marginal people of our society who we are reestablishing and helping reenter our community. They are able to compete, work, contribute, and raise a family,” said Major Morton. “And now they’re on better footing.”
And that second chance at life costs nothing to beneficiaries. The program is funded by the proceeds from The Salvation Army Family Stores. Donations of used clothing, furniture, and household items are received, sorted, refurbished, priced, and distributed to one of three local thrift stores by the men in the program. The proceeds from the sale of those items are used exclusively to fund the Adult Rehabilitation Center programs, shelter, and counseling services.
“That’s the beauty of this place. They don’t charge us a dime,” said Leroy. “The goal is to get your life together where you’ll be able to move out and get your own place. That’s why the door stays open for the next man who comes in,” Leroy said.
Major Morton said there are just two main requirements at the Center: Men must be able to work and must be dedicated to changing their lives. Men interested in participating can call 804-359-0269 for availability and more information.
“The bottom line is, when people are in this program, they don’t have to worry about anything else,” he said. “It takes away all the stress and allows these men to focus on their recovery.”
Support the Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center. Donate women’s, men’s, and children’s gently used shoes at Saxon Shoes at Short Pump Town Center through December 24.