Mike Labig didn’t originally plan to get involved with the Ohio Mission Bible Training Center.
“I retired for the first time in 2006, and then I retired again in 2013,” Labig said. “In 2014, I was working at Rick’s Appliances. The parents of a person at the mission came into Rick’s one day. They were looking for ways to finance the mission.”
Labig said he told them of some resources they could use to learn how to raise money for organizations. The couple asked him if he could give them a list of the resources he was familiar with. When Labig went to the mission that following weekend with the information, the people at the training center told him that they really needed a teacher.
”They said, ‘Thank you, but we could use some teachers. Are you interested?’ and I said, ‘Well, I guess,’” Labig said. “So they said, ‘Well, we need one right now.’ That was my cue, and I’ve been out there ever since. I have no complaints. It’s been a great journey.”
This Thanksgiving, Labig said he’ll be celebrating his fifth year with the Ohio Bible Mission Training Center. He quit his job at Rick’s back in March so he could be more involved with the training center. Now, he runs P’aint-N-Kleen, a business that employs Ohio Mission Bible Training Center residents.
“P’aint-N-Kleen is a little more than a handyman service. We just built a ceramic walk-in show, we remodeled a whole house down in Kentucky, we do antenna work, we painted the Southern Ohio Pregnancy Center, we painted two buildings for the mayor, we laid flooring for the new coffee shop, the Daily Grind,” Labig said. “The guys aren’t necessarily certified, and we want to try to get them certified, so we can go to more businesses and say, ‘Hey, this is what we can do for you.’”
Labig told The Times-Gazette that though none of his workers are certified yet, Ohio Means Jobs can help training center residents become certified.
Labig also said the training center is working with Highland County Community Action to get forgiveness for residents who may have fines waiting for them back in their home state.
“If you get two DUIs in a row, it’s $10,000,” Labig said. “Our residents don’t have that kind of money yet, so we don’t want them to have to pay that kind of fine.”
Currently, residents stay at the training center for eight to 10 months, Labig said. After they graduate from the program, residents are able to sign on as staff members. However, Labig said that there’s currently nothing in place to help residents transition back into life outside the training center.
“All the science tells us that it’s two to five years for full recovery. We’ve already lost one guy. He went back to New Jersey, and we think he overdosed from what we’ve been told,” Labig said. “We lose them sometimes. We don’t want to do that anymore.”
To solve the problem, Labig said he and others at the training center are looking into buying a house that would serve as a transitional housing for program graduates. Labig told The Times-Gazette that once they purchase a house, it’ll be named the Scott Paradise House, after the former training center resident who they believe died from an overdose in New Jersey.
“When you see them recover, you find out that they’re normal people like our kids and grandkids,” Labig said. “Why should we lose them to society when they have a lot of potential? To see that potential come out is awesome.”
Michelle Winchell, public relations specialist for the Ohio Mission Bible Training Center, told The Times-Gazette that Labig is humble.
“Mike really has a heart for lost souls,” Winchell said. “He’s a wonderful teacher and a wonderful friend. He bends over backwards for us with his generosity, with his time.
“The first year I was here, I had the privilege of going to the Southern Ohio Pregnancy Center’s banquet. At this time, the mission had only been open for a year, and Mike had been a teacher here. He’d talk about the pregnancy center, and we knew he was involved with the pregnancy center, but they asked the founder of the pregnancy center to come forward, and it was Mike Labig.”
Winchell told The Times-Gazette that the Ohio Mission Bible Training Center started in 2014, meaning that Labig got involved with the center near its beginning.
“Mike loves the Lord, and his love has a trickling effect onto others,” Winchell said. “P’aint-N-Kleen is helping unfortunate ones as far as employment. He’s doing things right and showing integrity in the workplace, and that’s really huge.”
The Ohio Mission Bible Training Center has evening devotions every day of the week from 7:30 to 9 p.m. They are open to the public, and there are refreshments afterward. The training center is located at 6210 McCoppin Mill Rd. in the Rocky Fork Lake area. For more information, call Michelle Winchell at 937-509-0373.
Reach McKenzie Caldwell at 937-402-2570.