A ribbon cutting ceremony was held Friday afternoon for the dedication of the Massie House, a “sober living” housing facility outside Belfast managed by FRS, formerly known as Family Recovery Services.
The 16-bed men’s shelter is named after the late Dr. Randall Massie, who was a counselor at FRS before becoming an associate professor at Southern State Community College.
Massie passed away Nov. 3, 2016 at the age of 61.
Roger Cheesbro, the chief executive officer for Family Recovery Services, said it is very fitting that FRS’s first sober living residence should bear his name.
“Randy was a not only a Christian minister for 20 years,” he said, “ but he supervised many counselors as a licensed professional in Hillsboro at FRS for over a decade.”
Cheesbro noted that in Massie’s position as an educator in Southern State’s Human and Social Services program, he was able to pass along his high ethics and caring philosophy to his students.
“All of his students benefitted from his teaching and they took that knowledge with them wherever they went,” Cheesbro said. “He left the world that he touched a much better place.”
Men dealing with substance abuse now have a much better place to go as well, so they can, as Cheesebro put it, “get their lives back together.”
“The first step is to admit you have a problem bigger than yourself, and that you can’t do it alone,” he said.
There are already 14 men in treatment at the Massie House, which has been in operation since mid-May.
The facility is designed to provide a sober environment that is fully staffed, and depending on their needs and the progress they make, allows the men to complete 90 to 120 days of treatment and counseling.
The organization’s former CEO, Joe Adray, described its mission in comments prior to the ribbon cutting.
“This building is an oasis, just like its namesake, who was an oasis to those around him, this facility is an oasis for Highland County folks who need a place to recover,” Adray said.
Having a facility like Massie House that is local in nature is important to FRS’s rehabilitation strategy.
The organization told The Times-Gazette that most of the men currently in treatment at Massie House are Highland County residents that otherwise would be sent to programs in neighboring counties. They noted the Belfast facility would make it easier for the men to get the family and spiritual support they need in the recovery process.
Highland County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Melissa Elmore said it’s important for people dealing with substance abuse issues to get the help they need.
“The unemployment rates nationwide and in Highland County are at an all-time low, so this will allow them to re-enter the job force and become productive citizens,” she said.
The chamber provided the ribbon and big scissors for the dedication ceremony.
Mackenzie Williamson, community relations director for the chamber, echoed the organization’s role in promoting efforts like the Massie House dedication.
“Anything we can do to bring awareness to things like this is great,” she said, “because it allows us to help move Highland County forward in a positive manner.”
Reach Tim Colliver at 937-402-2571.