CORE House Managers Express Thanks This Holiday Season!

CORE House Managers Express Thanks This Holiday Season!

Thanksgiving Day is almost here!  It’s all about togetherness, gratitude, coziness, shelter, comfort, and happiness — the perfect time to give thanks for blessings and to spend time with family and friends.

The energy, warmth, and excitement kindled by grateful people is infectious! So, to help put everybody in the holiday spirit, we asked some of our CORE house managers what they are most thankful for.  Here are their awesome responses:

First and foremost, I’m thankful to God for never giving up on me.  And then the love and support of my family, who never gave up, either.  I’m thankful for the CORE program, too, and for Kevin Hunt, who answered my phone call and got me in.  He probably saved my life.”
– Jeremy Hampton (Seahawk House)

I’m so grateful to God for restoring my relationship with my family.  There is no word to describe how grateful I am for that.  I don’t have a word for that.  And I am completely grateful to CORE and the community and friendships found here.  My life has purpose and meaning today; it goes beyond just daily living.  There is no aspect of my life that I’m ungrateful for.  None.” 
– Tamara Spencer (6th Street House)

God thought I was worth a second chance.  The Steps allowed me to have my family back.  I’m thankful to be a good son, husband, and father now.  I’m thankful that the worst problems I have today are so minor.  I’m thankful for CORE, these 12 Steps, and for Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior.” 
– Dallas Conaway (Raven House)

My restored relationship with God, my family, and my newfound relationships with so many friends at CORE.  My CORE family – there’s just so much to be thankful for.” 
– Jen Brinkman (Quail House)

Relationships.  My family, my kids.  The lifelong relationships I’ve made here.  God repaired my broken relationships with my family and children.  My mom and dad are older, but when they are ready to leave this world, they’ll know I’m okay.” 
– Bracy Sams (Hawkeye House) 

The fact that I became willing to follow instructions.  I view this as a gift from God, because I heard them a million times before I actually followed them.  Just this morning an older man showed up out on the front porch.  His wife had kicked him out, put all his stuff out, but, oh yeah, he knows all about AA, goes to AA twice a week, yada yada.  Bless his heart.  He never followed the instructions.  The reality is, this man is walking around with nothing because he wasn’t willing to follow instructions.  So my willingness was a gift from God, I think, because I was that person once, walking around saying help me, but being unwilling to accept real help.” 
– Kim Stewart (Swan House)

I’m thankful that God is understanding and forgiving.  And merciful.  I’m genuinely thankful for my friends, for like minded people.  And I’m thankful to be at a place where miracles happen.  I see miracles, from start to finish, and see the differences.  Every day I ask people how they’re doing, and they say, you know, same old same old.  The next day, it’s still same old.  After awhile, I see that the same olds aren’t the same anymore.  They’re totally new people, and that’s the miracle.” 
– Neil Finley (Duck House)

I’m grateful for CORE and the foundation of eight years, and I’m thankful for all of the relationships that I’ve made this entire time.  Not just with CORE and the people in it, but over eight years of sobriety, I’ve met a lot of good people.”
– Christos Papanikas (Condor House)

I’m thankful for this program because it helped me find a relationship with God I never had before.  I’m thankful for my family, and for all of the people I have around me that help me better my life.  And thankful to God.  I have to be.  I wouldn’t be here today without Him.” 
– Mitchell Brooks (Sparrow House)

I’m thankful for finding my Higher Power.  When you’re saved, it’s something that you should know inside.  People here say, don’t leave before the miracle happens.  The first seven months I was here, I was like, when is this miracle thing going to happen?  And then one day I woke up and thought, I am the miracle.  I’m human again.  I live an adult life, and I look forward to going to work and the Center, and to seeing all the people there.  CORE gave me the structure for that to happen.  The other thing I’m thankful for are the relationships with my family.  My sisters call me out of the blue just to say hey.  My parents talk to me.  It’s a wonderful thing when that happens.”
– Chasity Downey (Outdoor House)

I’m thankful to be at the intake house and have the opportunity to help the newcomer.  I’m most thankful for having a close walk with Christ.  When I wake up in the morning and do my devotion, I know exactly what I’m supposed to do for that day.  Walking with Christ gives me direction and confidence.” 
– Nick Zahm (Blue Jay House)

I am grateful to be part of a program where I can give back what I have learned to others. CORE provided me a faith based option, and I have reconnected with Christ as my Higher Power.  I’m also grateful for all the people who come through the program.  I drive transportation, too, which gives me individual time with clients to see their growth and help guide them through the Steps and the program.” 
– Joe Redl (Cardinal House)

My son.  I’m so thankful that he has a sober mother today for our time together.  I’m thankful for all the women I’m able to lead.  And for God and the program, and for everything that He’s done for me.” 
– Alecia Short (Vaughn House)

I’m thankful for recovery, five years on, and for CORE.  And for my relationship with God.  There also is my family, especially, my grandsons.  I got my relationship back with my sister, too, who is such a strong woman.  I’m thankful for the men in my house, the Bird House, it’s a great fraternity.  And for the people at work.  They know everything about my past, and I have no secrets in my life.  I have so many good things to be thankful for.  I also want to mention the stepfather my sons had in their life when I wasn’t there.  I’m so thankful that he was in their life.  They turned out to be really good men, and that needs to be said.” 
– Scott Bourbon (Bird House)

Without God in my life and the program, there would be nothing else to be thankful for.  So, first and foremost, I’m thankful to God that I have a God conscience.  I’m thankful for the CORE program, for giving me the opportunities that I have had over the last 18 months.  And for the clients of this program, who help me work the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.” 
– Adam Guss (Eagle House)

I am thankful for open eyes – the yes’s and the no’s – for the prayers answered even when the answer is no.  I have grown from all of it.  And thankful for the space CORE gave me to grow in recovery.  I’m so thankful for my kids, 100%, for everything about them, over and over and over. ” 
– Savella Elmore (BP/Quail House)

Two things I’m most thankful for are: one, that I can talk with my mom and she’s not worried about me.  She sleeps at night without worrying about what I’m up to.  Two, the people in my life.  They call me, not to check and see if I’m alive, but because they really want to talk to me.  Or they might need something.  They can rely on me, and that’s something I could never have imagined before.  These are the things that, when I think about the people, I get emotional and stuff.” 
– Dylan Butler (Falcon House)

I’m thankful for CORE, for my sobriety, and for my relationship with God.  I’m really just thankful for everything!” 
– Alexandria Powell (CC/Swan House)

Having my family back, my kids back.  And thankful for this program and what it’s done for me.  I don’t know where I’d be without it. It helped me get back on my feet and find a better relationship with God.” 
– Tyler Hanson (Condor House)

I’m thankful for all of the blessings that God has given me.  For my family, and my CORE family.  And I’m very grateful that I have the opportunity to help others.” 
– Jennifer Mayo (Dove House)

That’s a long list, so I’m thankful to know what gratitude means, for me to be thankful today.  I didn’t understand that in my addiction.  Every day I remember where I came from and where I’m at now, and I try to pass along how to get there to the people who are still learning.  In the mornings, I thank God for all the things that I can think of, and start my day with a grateful mindset.  There’s so much, too, but I’m just grateful to be here, living out a dream that I never thought would be possible.” 
– Blake Wilson (Pelican House)

A Typical Month at CORE

A Typical Month at CORE

Some think that CORE is only about classes, can you believe it?  Now, it is true, in any given week, we offer multiple recovery classes and groups, as well as classes and meetings dedicated to spirituality, HiSET, and our EDGE and CARE programs.  But, CORE is a big place with lots going on depending on the month and season of the year.  We are way more than just classes!

So, in keeping with holiday sharing, here we will highlight our program’s activities during a typical month at CORE.  We’ll use this past month as an example.

Keep in mind that “CORE months” run roughly from one commencement ceremony to the next.  Commencements are when clients graduate the one-year recovery program.  So, we’ll start our tour with the commencements of September, and we will end with our commencements in October.

Our September 18th commencement was the last of our summer commencements, which we always hold out on Bull Creek, between Springfield and Branson.  The summer commencements begin in May of each year and give everybody a chance to mingle, swim, and frolic in the sun.  We always do a big outdoor barbeque, and September was no different.  After everybody had their fill of hotdogs and burgers, the commencements started.   In all, eleven (11) clients commenced in September.  Each graduate came forward in succession and had family members and people from CORE speak on their behalf.  All the speakers’ comments were heartfelt, especially when they were family.  However, several of the CORE speakers trended toward the lighter side (a light-hearted roast, actually!)  Upon completion of the commencements, the crowd’s attention turned to the river for the baptisms.  Sixteen (16) people were baptized, turning their will and lives over to the care of our Lord Jesus.  September’s commencement was attended by hundreds of clients, staff, and family members.

On October 1st, CORE participated in the Zombie Run at the Branson RecPlex!  CrossFit Branson organized this event.  The Reader may wonder, what is a Zombie Run, exactly?  It’s what happens when you combine a 5K race with the undead, basically.  Runners watch out!  Scary zombies are on the loose!  If caught, the runner has to do extra exercises in order to escape and continue racing.  In addition to the race, there also was great food and a raffle to win really cool prizes.  CORE is thankful to all of the runners and participants who made the event so fun and successful.  We were well represented, and our people had a blast!  See the pics of our scary zombies?  We’re especially grateful to Sabrina King at CrossFit Branson for all of her hard work.  We cannot express our gratitude enough! 

Our softball team played its last game on October 6th.  It had seen weekly action since August, when the season began for the Branson Church Softball League.  Competition this season turned out to be stiffer than ever.  After losing to a really tough opponent early in the season, our team buckled down and got busy.  We went on an 11 – 0 run to finish and win the championship tournament. The championship game happened at the Branson RecPlex, and many CORE staff and clients showed up to cheer our team on to victory.  We are so proud of their accomplishment!  Our players walked off the field with heads held high, because they are league champions for the third season in a row.  Here is a pic of our team on championship night.  Our players are, Front Row: Josh Brown, Gavin Marler, Bracy Sams, Karen Barnes, Adam Guss, Adam Weaver, Josh Weaver, and Charlie Miller; Back Row: Nick Bates, Chris Brunner, Nick Brooks, Charles Kay, Justin Hampton, Paul Otis, Shaun Burke, Jeremy Hampton, Jeana Knous, and Gary Osborn.

On October 8th, CORE participated in the Hollister Grape and Fall Festival.  Our people arrived in the wee hours of Saturday morning, mainly to organize and help vendors set up for the day.  Thankfully, parking was not an issue, because one of our CORE ReStores is right there in downtown Hollister.  By 6:00 a.m., all kinds of food trucks and local businesses, and craft vendors and nonprofits, arrived to Downing Street, which burst to life with activity.  The local FFA had a petting zoo, too, drawing praise from several among our group (baby goats are cute). After setting up, our people enjoyed the festival’s activities.  More than one returned home that day with a giant bag of kettle corn!  CORE wishes to thank everybody who helped make this event so successful! 

The following week, on October 13th, we had our Annual Shrimp & Crawfish boil.  This is a highlight event on our calendar where the donors of CORE get together for the most awesome shrimp boil this side of the Mississippi.  Guests enjoyed giant pots of yummy shrimp, crawfish, sausage, potatoes, corn, ghost peppers, and other good stuff!  

CORE is especially thankful to those who sponsored the event: Mary Haas, Combs Hospitality, Second Baptist Church, First Community Bank, Ed’s Heating and Cooling, and many of our CORE houses!  A big shout out also goes to HR Director Tami McKinney for organizing the event.  Kudos to Bracy Sams, who formulated the perfect shrimp and crawfish recipe. Thank you also to Christos Papanikas, who oversaw preparation of an amazing stuffed tenderloin for allergy-challenged attendees.  Also, our Second Milers stepped up to help serve food and drinks.  Everybody chipped in to make this event successful, really, which was just about having fun!  

October 27th also was a busy day at CORE.  All of our staff and house managers descended upon our Branson recovery center for ethics training, which took up nearly the entire day and met all requirements for those of us who needed hours required by the Missouri Credentialing Board.  The training happened in the main classroom.  As the picture shows, the room was full!  In the middle of the training we broke for lunch and had awesome pizza.  Our own Bruce Wood provided the training.  He’s not only a certified reciprocal alcohol and drug counselor but he also has so many designations after his name that they are too many to list.  He did a great job of talking about professional ethics and how they apply at CORE.

On October 20th and 27th, we completed the CORE month by holding commencement ceremonies for our Springfield and Branson programs, respectively.  Eight (8) clients in all commenced.  Again, family members spoke and expressed their thanks to God for the miracle who is their loved one in recovery.  The minor children of two clients also spoke and personally thanked CORE, which made everybody cry.   These were happy events, although everybody in attendance understood that these graduations mark a new beginning for their loved ones in recovery.  

So, these are just some of CORE’s activities over the past month.  If we added individual house activities, we would run out of space to write!