Dusten Rader/Express staff
Executive Director of the HFM Prevention Council Ann Rhodes speaks Friday at the Rob Constantine Recovery Community and Outreach Center in Johnstown during a grand opening ceremony.
By DUSTEN RADER
Fulton County Express
JOHNSTOWN — Dozens of area residents organized Friday to participate in a movement against addiction.
Executive Director of the HFM Prevention Council Ann Rhodes said Friday that the people who gathered for the grand opening of the Rob Constantine Recovery Community and Outreach Center on Friday in Johnstown were participants in the beginnings of a local recovery revolution.
“We are going to live our recovery out loud — we’re not going to be quiet anymore,” Rhodes said. “We’re not going to be ashamed anymore or be intimidated with the stigma attached to addiction and recovery — we’re going to help everyone we can deal with this disease and live a happy, healthy sober life.”
The Recovery Center, 86 Briggs St. in Johnstown, is a place where trained recovery coaches and community members will engage in peer support in an effort to aid in the struggle of living with addiction.
Guests of the ceremony sat surrounded by an art installation called The Recovery Wall, which is comprised of photos of local people with quotes about their path to sobriety.
“We need a team to help people,” Rhodes said. “Everybody who works and volunteers here has to have Rob’s attitude and that is we are kind and accepting and that we will help anyone and everyone.”
The Recovery Center was dedicated and named after former Nathan Littauer Hospital staff member the late Rob Constantine. His niece, Lynne Johns of North Greenbush spoke at the event about her struggle with addiction and how the Recovery Center will continue her uncle’s legacy of “one addict helping another.”
“The one thing recovery is not is a solitary pursuit — there’s no more ‘I got this,’ it’s ‘together we got this,’” Johns said. “ … Thank you for making this a place of love, hope, and acceptance — it’s what he would have wanted.”
A photo of Constantine hangs in the Recovery Center above a quote by himself, it reads: “In short, recovery to me is home-sweet-home.”
Coordinator of the Recovery Center Ginger Cato thanked the volunteers and the advisory committee for their hard work and dedication to the cause. Rhodes also pointed out the efforts already ongoing at the Creative Connections Clubhouse in Amsterdam and the Young People in Recovery group that meets every Thursday from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the HFM Prevention Council Training Center, 86 Briggs St. in Johnstown.
Representatives of state Assemblyman Marc Butler, Dottie MacVean, and Sen. James Tedisco, Jennifer Donovan, also spoke during the event.
“As a member of the Senate Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction I deeply regret that I cannot attend,” Donovan said “I, along with several members of the task force, recently held a forum at F-MCC to help develop solutions to the heroin crisis. We’re advocating a four-prong approach that includes prevention and increasing awareness, ensuring treatment options are available in every community, investing in strong recovery services and cracking down on dealers. I appreciate the testimony of Ann Rhodes who spoke on behalf of HFM Prevention Council, as well as all the hard work the organization does with helping prevent addiction and assting with recovery as the organization works every day on the solutions the task force is seeking.
“This new endeavor fits into the task force mission and is an asset to the area,” she continued. “The center helps prevent relapses and supports long -term recovery by providing a substance free environment and aiding those with addiction.”
Both Donovan and MacVean presented the Recovery Center with citations from their respective official.
“The citation welcomes you and honors you for your outstanding work,” MacVean said. “The assemblyman and I myself both have personal situations that will hopefully benefit from this center. The community does need it, and although that’s unfortunate, how lucky were are to have such caring and wonderful people to help our family members, friends and neighbors.”
For more information, call 518-705-4626 or visit www.hfm-preventioncouncil.com.