The Leah's Legacy operations center is completed. A beautiful memorial walkway called Leahbug's Garden has been lovingly designed by Leah's mom and grandmother. We have moved all of the the bag items given in a purple drawstring bag into our new facility, along with Procter & Gamble shampoos, conditioners and assorted items, Wet hairbrushes, new towels and big comfy throws, plus Bombas socks.
This beautiful facility was paid for by our faithful sponsors, agency affiliates, donors, friends and family. We could not have done this without your support. Thank you for caring. Thank you for giving.
As I was driving back from Martinsburg, WV, with a truck filled with donated product from the Procter and Gamble Tabler Station plant, I wondered where we were going to house two skids of valued product for our Leah Legacy bags. Thank goodness my parents next door volunteered to store them in their laundry room in the basement of their home.
That was the short-term solution, but the more long-term quandary was where would we store other items. We had products stored in our closet upstairs, in a few rooms, in our garage and an outdoor storage buildings.
I began to research the cost of a building. I knew what it would be called: Leah's Legacy Operations Center. That idea was mentioned in passing one day after I attended a Franklin/Fulton County Drug and Alcohol meeting and I was talking with April Rouzer, the former director. I asked if there was any funding for such a project. She referenced the project as an operations site. I said, “exactly.” Well, there wasn’t any such funding for this type of project from that agency, but that never stopped me from pursuing other avenues.
Once Robin and I researched builders and found the outpost we absolutely loved, we had to decide on a site. Again, my mom and dad volunteered their property - ours wasn’t as level. Site approval paperwork was done via email because of COVID-19.
The building sales rep. came bearing the paperwork. Much discussion took place that morning. Where was the money coming from? Is this the right time to flick the switch on such a project? I was convinced it was. We signed the paperwork, made a down payment and hoped it was the right decision. I mailed out over a dozen letters to civic organizations the next day, but by the end of the week, the state was in shutdown mode. Community organizations were no longer meeting and people were working from home.
My day job is to raise money for a hospital. My after-hours job suddenly was to pick up the phone and to talk with businesses, organizations and foundations in hopes of raising funds for the building. And to pray for a breakthrough. Lots of praying.
The actual construction was delayed because of the pandemic and that helped in a lot of ways- it bought us extra time to raise the necessary funds, along with an excavator who went out of his way to help us.
There was manna from Heaven. The building was paid for from donations and grants. The excavation was done in time for the Amish builders to apply their trade in less than two days on the 20x32 structure, the spouting/gutters were installed free of charge and the signage was beautifully done at a discounted rate.
Robin and my mom busily purchased the flowers and shrubbery and the landscaping was magnificently completed with a memorial garden by Dale Kennedy, owner of Village Green Nursery. The concrete was poured by a Doug DeGrange & Son Concrete who had hired our son Chris soon after high school in 2001. The electrical work was done by Robin’s cousin, Bo Higgins, owner of Higgins Electric. The inside wall framing was completed by our friend Jerry Hampton. The insulation, drywall, drop ceiling and trim work was done by Tim Smith, owner of T.W. Smith & Sons Construction and also a Clear Spring High School classmate of Robin's. The interior painting was done by Bobby Miller, a friend of Mike’s from Greencastle-Antrim High School. An epoxy floor was installed by Al Blum, owner of Renew It All. All Leah's Legacy signage done by friend Jay Sensenig, owner of FastSigns.
Dale Kennedy of Village Green Nursery and helper Shawn Fisher created our beautiful memorial walk.
20 Leah Legacy bags filled with all kinds of
necessities plus items donated by
Procter & Gamble, Martinsburg, WV
such as shampoos, conditioners, dryer sheets, cleaning supplies, Bombas socks, and Canteen snacks.
Leah's Legacy: spreading hope
Mike and Robin Straley distributed 50 Leah Legacy bags to the women at Lasting Change in Hagerstown, MD, on May 17, 2019, sharing Leah's story and giving love, basic necessities, and lots of umbrellas and Bombas socks.
Many shared with us how they have lost so many family and friends to an overdose. Our hearts consoled one another that day. Each hug was like putting our arms around our daughter.
Thank you, ladies..
Leah's Legacy Operations Center provides bags of hope for women in recovery
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Chocolates, personal care bags help parents with their grief
A father's promise to his beloved daughter becomes a reality
Brooke's House opens doors to help heal women battling addiction
A promise fulfilled: Parents cut the ribbon on home for women fighting opioid addiction
Overdose victims remembered on Black Balloon Day