On June 15, 2016, The Gate House held its Annual Board of Directors Dinner Meeting at Millersville University. The guest speaker for the evening was Gary Tennis, Secretary of the PA Department of Drug & Alcohol Programs. Secretary Tennis spoke about the current heroin epidemic and the many initiatives his department has introduced to address this growing problem. Among the programs the Secretary mentioned are the training of medical professionals to recognize and assist those in active addiction; opiate prescribing guidelines for doctors and dentists; a prescription monitoring program; the use of Naloxone by public safety officers; and implementing and utilizing alternative pain-control methods to opiate prescriptions. Secretary Tennis also spoke about addiction being a stigmatized disease that needs to be discussed openly and stated that, “if we took care of drug and alcohol addiction, we would have a huge impact on the safety of our communities.” The Secretary also praised The Gate House, for “doing sacred work” and stated that what the staff is doing “could not be doing more important.” Secretary Tennis reiterated his commitment and that of Governor Wolf to aggressively responding to the needs of Pennsylvanians suffering from drug and alcohol problems and their families. The Gate House was greatly honored by Secretary Tennis’ attendance and moved by his dedication to helping people suffering from the disease of active addiction.

The themes of the evening were celebration, appreciation, and inspiration. Program Director, Rebecca Hahn, opened by sharing with attendees the growth of The Gate House in the past year including adding a new Outpatient and Administrative office in Lancaster City with the capacity to serve hundreds more each year. In addition, The Gate House’s sister organization, Recovery Environments Incorporated (REI), added two more female recovery houses, for a total of 36 beds across 5 sites, with the help of a grant from the Lancaster County Drug and Alcohol Commission.

A Community Support Award was given to Scott Feifer, a dedicated volunteer with The Gate House programs since 2004. Scott facilitates writing circle programs for clients of The Gate House, helping them to heal and grow through writing. The H.E.A.R. Board of Directors and the REI Board of Directors were also honored with Community Support Awards. During the event, the hard work and outstanding care by the treatment team at both The Gate House for Women and The Gate House for Men was recognized. In addition, professional accomplishments such as dedicated years of service, educational achievements, certifications and licensures, and promotions were highlighted.

The evening ended with attendees listening to two inspirational alumni speakers from The Gate House’s Residential Extended Care Program. Their testimonies embodied the work that the staff at The Gate House does on a daily basis and was a demonstration of their own personal recovery journey.

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