Home of Grace founder's vision realized

By Sylvia Hall - bio | email

VANCLEAVE, MS (WLOX) - "I was driving down this road with my mother eleven plus years ago," said Merchants and Marine Bank Executive Todd Trenchard about his first trip to the Home of Grace.

For him, and many others all over the country, his first memory of the faith-based addiction treatment facility wasn't the best.

"I didn't come here to get sober," he said as he addressed a crowd Tuesday.  "They brought me here so I would die."

He said it's what happens after arrival that can change a person forever. Since his admission into the facility, Trenchard has become a successful businessman with endless community involvement.  He credits his time at the Home of Grace with much of his success. And he's not the only one.

"I got to the Home of Grace, where the most loving staff of women showed me- with God using them as the vessel- that God loved me," said Home of Grace Alumna Barbara Wassmann.  "God didn't care where I was.  What I had done.  He loved me just as I was."

Home of Grace has helped countless people overcome addictions, and attracts clients from all over the United States.  Alumni, staff and friends attribute its success to a faith-based approach to rehabilitation. With this new facility, they hope to touch even more lives.

"The facility gives us the opportunity to take it to the next level so to speak," said Executive Director Rev. Billy Barton, Jr.  "We can bring clients in and take them through the program much better, much easier, and much more organized than ever before."

The new building features offices, classrooms, a counseling room, a new cafeteria, and a state-of-the art kitchen.  Home of Grace has been working toward updating the facility for years now.

"We're extremely excited about it," Barton said.  "We've been working on it for several years, we don't have a big budget and so we had to work it over time, and we're just thrilled it came together so well. Better than we expected."

To the people closest to the Home of Grace, this building is much more than a state of the art facility.  It's the realization of a vision that started on Jericho Road in 1964, when Billy Barton, Sr. acquired the property.  Back then there wasn't even a road to the future Home of Grace.  Now pictures from the early years hang in the central office of the new building, as constant reminders of how far the Home of Grace has come.

"It amazes me that he saw the vision God gave him," said alumnus Nathan Chilton.  "You know, I couldn't have seen that.  Not to see what it is now."

His family members believe Rev. Barton would be proud of the Home of Grace's evolution.

"I would have loved for him to have been here, but he's smiling down," said Barton, Jr.

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