Greg Stinson knows a thing or two about addiction.
Despite never dealing with it personally, he’s been on the other side as someone who deeply cared about a person who was struggling.
That experience led him to begin providing a recovery home for people in Louisville who are recovering from addiction.
Stinson, a Louisville native who owns a boat detailing business called ShineDr, has a lot of customers on Lake Cumberland which brought him to the area and ultimately led to Stinson brainstorming the idea to provide a recovery home in Russell County, where resources for people in addiction are much more sparse than in Louisville.
Ultimately, Stinson looked at a couple properties in the county, namely old motels but as the process played out, he ultimately found his way to the Ballmont Apartments, which had sat vacant for at least three years but possibly longer.
Despite the work and challenges ahead of him, Stinson saw the potential in what the property off W. Cumberland Avenue just a quarter-mile or so from the Jamestown Square held.
So The Bridges to Hope Recovery Home was born.
But the story of how the idea came to be isn’t seamless and it hasn’t always been easy, Stinson admitted. Even now, with the idea in place, a lot of work remains to make his vision a reality.
Stinson admits that his knowledge of addiction recovery is limited by the fact that he’s never been in the depths of addiction himself, but like many, the topic hits home as it has deeply affected people close to him.
Caring for someone wrapped up in addiction and trying to help them on a path to sobriety can be challenging and often overwhelming, a fact Stinson said he became keenly aware of.
“I had no idea what I was getting myself into at all, and it was absolutely one of the most overwhelming experiences of my life,” Stinson said.
But that experience ultimately led Stinson to open his first recovery home in Louisville, an eight-bed transitional living facility for women coming out of rehab who are looking to rebuild their lives. As he became more involved in the recovery community, attending trainings, meetings, etc., Stinson became acquainted with the Fletcher Group, a non-profit organization founded by former Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher and his wife, Glenna, that provides technical assistance to rural communities whose efforts to help those with opioid and other substance use disorders can benefit significantly from safe, sustainable recovery housing.
Resources such as transitional housing in rural communities is sparse, which makes achieving long-term sobriety for individuals coming out of rehab even more difficult.
Stinson decided to begin making some phone calls about properties in the Jamestown area, despite it being in the midst of the slow season for his business when his profits are extremely down.
As he embarked on this journey though, Stinson said he realized the importance of getting the community involved. He met with Jamestown Mayor Nick Shearer and the two had a positive conversation, Stinson said. The conversation went so well that when there was a hiccup with the first property, Shearer provided Stinson with some possible other properties that could be used for recovery housing.
That hiccup came in the form of lost funding from organizations that initially pledged support for Stinson’s idea. He said the initial loss of funding was discouraging and he nearly gave up on the idea altogether.
“I had kind of given up, but there was something in me just churning that I had to make this happen somehow, some way,” Stinson said.
Stinson didn’t give up, and by “freak miracles” he was able to gather the funding to purchase the apartments. However, funding for the much-needed renovations was lacking.
Much of the renovating work has been performed by volunteers and in the search for funding, Stinson said he’s been working on some public-private partnerships that will hopefully help put his vision into motion.
That vision involves a community of women who have aspirations of moving past their addictions and into a life of sobriety. It involves that community of women supporting one another and helping each other achieve those goals and aspirations.
“We’re looking for people who are committed,” Stinson said. “That’s first and foremost… There is going to be a lot of accountability.”
Stinson said the property fits perfectly with what he wants to do.
“When I stepped foot on the property for the first time, it was in much worse condition than it is now, but I immediately just thought, ‘My God, can you imagine the community that we can build here, in a place like this?'” Stinson said.
The property has 12 units, and Stinson said he aims for each living unit to be “first class.”
“I could’ve easily slapped some stuff together and had these already ready,” Stinson said. “But I don’t want to do that. I want people to walk in and be amazed that they have the opportunity to live here.”
And the facility is going to be more than just a place to live for the estimated 30 women who will reside at the property when at peak capacity. Stinson said he aims for residents to be involved with classes, groups, and self-help programming. He said that is part of the inspiration that brought about the name Bridges to Hope.
“I don’t really believe there’s one answer for people who are in recovery,” Stinson said. “Faith-based is great and works for some people. Programs like NA or AA are great for some people. A very, very small percentage of people can do it on their own and we are talking about a very, very small percentage of people. I don’t really have the answer, so we’re going to open up the box for people to find what works for them. We’re going to have multiple bridges available for people to walk over to get where they want to go.”
Stinson envisions a facility that the community can rally around and support.
“We’re going to be getting the whole community involved,” Stinson said. “I don’t want this to just be Greg’s place. Some churches have asked about getting involved and when it’s up and running, I see churches getting involved and having monthly dinners with the residents and things like that. I want to have a great relationship with the local law enforcement.
I really want the Russell County and the Jamestown community to be involved. I want the people living here to feel like they have a family here.”
Stinson said the feedback so far has been very positive. He’s heard from multiple local leaders who have said they support his endeavor.
“It’s just been overwhelmingly supportive,” Stinson said. “I keep hearing how this community needs something like this, so I’m thankful for that support.”
Stinson noted that this facility isn’t a silver bullet to fighting the problem of addiction in Russell County, but it can be a tool.
“I’m not here to save people,” Stinson said. “I’m here to provide a place for people to have the resources to save themselves.”
Want to get involved?
Anyone interested in getting involved with the project, through donations, volunteering, etc., can reach Stinson via the organization’s Facebook page by clicking here.
Stinson says he is looking for skilled laborers, such as carpenters, etc. as well as unskilled laborers to assist with general labor needs around the property.