Camp Out on the Bayou
We headed north of town to Rancho Dos Pueblos for our annual Santa Barbara Rescue Mission (SBRM) fundraiser. There is always a Bayou in the theme, this year’s being “Camp Out on the Bayou.” Greeting us was a genuine camper ready for inspection, while further down the path was a very large silent auction and another camper.
There to greet us was SBRM Rescue Mission President Rolf Geyling, who told us, “This is the 20th anniversary of our annual fundraising event. What is so memorable is the statement that says we can make an incredible difference for those struggling with homelessness and addiction in our community.”
Annually they provide more than 45,000 nights of shelter and 100,000 meals to men, women, and children in our community.
The Rescue Mission is certified by the California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs. It’s the highest level of distinction given to non-medical treatment facilities. In contrast to national statistics that show only 21% of those who complete addiction programs remain dependency free, for the first five years more than 53% of the Mission’s graduates maintain recovered over this same period. The Mission offers family support, addiction education, relapse prevention, transitional housing, career development, and placement.
PR lady extraordinaire Rebecca Weber helped me round up some of the many folks who make this day possible. Today the honoree was Gerd Jordano. She is a retired nurse and realtor but has been a leading civic leader. Besides many other accolades she was the first emcee of the first Bayou event and for many years after. Today Catherine Remak was running the program. District Attorney Joyce Dudley introduced Gerd as they presented her the Leni Fe Bland Award.
One of the heartstrings parts of the program is listening to the success stories, this year from John Gallagher. Also featured in the SBRM Rescue Mission Milestone Magazine was the story of Rick.
“When I came into the Mission, all my private possessions were in one Tupperware container.”
He was in his forties and had battled addiction since he was nine. He was not expected to make it, but he did. That was eight years ago. Now he manages his shop, a multi-million-dollar gas station. As he says, “Your donations make this possible.”
The Idiomatiques kept the music going and almost 300 of us sat down to dinner at beautiful sunflower decorated tables for a yummy family style meal.
The Rescue Mission was established in 1965. For more information call Rebecca Weber at (805) 966-1316 ext. 105.