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Guthrie visits Willisburg

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Stops by Isaiah House, North Washington Elementary

By Brandon Mattingly

U.S. Rep. Brett Guthrie, R-Ky., paid a visit to Washington County on Thursday, stopping by North Washington School before touring Isaiah House, which the congressman said left a strong impression on him.

Guthrie, who took office in 2009, made the rounds in Willisburg, as he spoke to fifth-graders about the importance of government, heard stories of overcoming addiction from those at the Christian-based rehab center and interacted with local government officials.

The congressman said a break in his schedule allowed him to stop by a community that his office is very familiar with.

“We’ve worked closely with (Willisburg Mayor Pat Kirsch) on a lot of issues, and of course the (Washington County Judge-Executive John Settles) in the wake of water issues,” Guthrie said. “I love to go to the schools and North Washington invited us, so I went to speak to the fifth-graders about government. Therefore, it was a good time to visit Isaiah House.”

Guthrie and state House Rep. Mike Harmon, R-Danville, were among those to tour the rehab facility, and Guthrie said he connected with including faith in the healing process.

“It looks like a well-run facility,” he said. “I saw two testimonies, and we just met with the women’s group in a Bible study, and they were talking about how this place is changing their life, and that’s what it’s about. One guy said he’s been to four different treatment centers, and this one has really changed his life because it’s Christ-centered, and he can’t get better without that. My point is that I don’t think any of us can get better without it, no matter what our issues are.”

Isaiah House Executive Director Mark LaPalme showed the group a video explaining the organization’s focus on introducing rehab patients back into the community with proper work skills, as opposed to sending them back into a high-risk environment to resume harmful behavior. The video also spoke about the NeuroElectric Therapy (NET) device used at the facility, which has provided encouraging results in treatment and is awaiting FDA approval.

“It’s nice to see that there are facilities really trying to transform people, not just to get them sober, but to get them back into the economy and being as productive as we want them to be,” Guthrie said of Isaiah House’s approach.

Harmon said he has visited Isaiah House in the past, but has seen it grow recently. He acknowledged that welcoming Washington County’s U.S. representative can only benefit Isaiah House and the community.

“I think, for people to see the lives they’ve changed, it will be a good thing for multiple reasons,” Harmon said. “They are a Christ-centered facility, and a lot of what they do requires contributions, so anything that they can do to make people know that this need is there can only help.”

LaPalme and Isaiah House introduced their women’s facility last year, and it currently houses seven patients. Guthrie met with the residents for a few minutes, and he took notice of their positive outlook in their Bible study and the encouraging environment around the facility.

“The women’s facility being a former house and how well-kept it is was apparent, he said. “There’s one other (rehab center) that I’ve toured in my district that is religious-focused, and I think that’s important because you can’t just change their needs for drugs, you have to change their emotional and their spiritual view. I think that’s what they’re trying to do here, and it’s really impressive.”

Guthrie has made his way across much of his 2nd Congressional District and seen the impact drug use can have on local communities, especially with crime. He said that supporting groups like Isaiah House could be the first step in making major changes.

“A lot of people who have drug issues, have other issues,” Guthrie said. “A lot of the crime, particularly a lot of the petty crime, we have is someone trying to fill a drug habit. If we can help people off of drugs, then it will help with a lot of other things in our communities.”

Harmon added that Washington County has made a proper home for Isaiah House and that working hand-in-hand with the community will lead to continued success.

“I think Isaiah House reflects really well (on Washington County),” Harmon said. “I think Isaiah House and the local community have worked to address any concerns that they might have. It’s working out quite well.”

To find out more about Isaiah House or to donate to their cause, visit http://www.isaiah-house.org.