Just shy of two years ago, Tim Postel became the new owner of the local McDonald’s restaurants. He set out to meet people and learn about the community by dropping in with coffee and shaking hands. Last week, Tim brought his management team to the Center of Hope in Riverton. They shared coffee with staff and enjoyed a tour from Ron Woodward, the Director of the Center.

Ron Woodward, left, begins the tour with McDonald’s staff including (from right to left): Tim Postel, Michelle Gonzales, Craig Postel, Shannon Rowles, and Troy Gonzales.

Ron shared that the Center, which provides individuals a safe short-term place to detoxify from drugs and alcohol use, has 28 beds. On the day of the tour the Center was full.

“Today we’re completely full,” said Ron. “When we’re full like this and it’s so cold outside, we try to let people warm up a little but we don’t have any room. When that happens we have a supply of hand warmers, gloves, space blankets and things like that to give out. Winter can be tough.”

The Center is managed by Volunteers of America of the Northern Rockies, which operates in four Mountain West States. They provide operational processes, support, guidance, training and more to the staff at the local level. VOA also runs the Pingora Behavioral Health Clinic at the Center of Hope. Pingora dovetails with the Center of Hope by providing outpatient-based treatment and services to promote recovery from opioid addiction along with mental health and addiction counseling.

Ron explained that the Center of Hope isn’t just a “detox center,” but that their goal is to help people get back on their feet and back into society to live productive lives free from addiction. The Center has weekly motivational speakers and support sessions.

“We see blood alcohol levels higher than any other County in Wyoming,” Ron mentioned during the tour. “It’s not uncommon to receive individuals with a .5% level or higher, which is astounding. We’re also seeing more hard drugs like heroin. So, we need to provide well-rounded services and support to the people that come here.” Ron said that a frequent speaker on their Wednesday night motivational sessions had been admitted to the Center of Hope over 1,000 times, but he has now been sober for over year.

Tim and the McDonald’s team shared their admiration as they toured the building. “It warms the heart to see all this. The world needs more people like you guys,” Tim said as they concluded the tour in the conference room.

To learn more about VOA Services for Veterans, substance abuse, youth and more visit: voanr.org

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