Three years ago, Ron Woodward became the Volunteers of America Center of Hope Director. His journey in serving Fremont County residents did not begin there, but over 30 years ago. Previously, he could be found in an ambulance as an EMT-2; spent time with the Wyoming Highway Patrol, where he retired as a Lieutenant; and then worked within the Department of Corrections.
Those led me here; when I was working with the DOC, this was the Fremont County Alcohol Crisis Center. I would work with clients that came here and saw what they were trying to do—giving people a safe haven to detox without having to be on the streets. That really impressed me. Then I learned about the VOA and their investment in people’s recovery. We provide everything from transportation to meals. We have people here to help them get their driver’s license, social security card, birth certificate, jobs, housing. I was impressed by that.
As I moved through life, they told me they were looking for someone, and they asked if I were interested, and I came on board. I was destined to show up here sooner or later. The things I’ve seen that have resulted from people having problems with drugs and alcohol have been pretty rough. With the patrol, especially in the later years, my job was to help investigate fatalities, and the majority were drugs and alcohol. Some were horrific. For this community, especially, this has been a really worthwhile program. We help a lot of people in a lot of ways. We are full now; we’ve been turning people away for weeks. The people that work here are really dedicated. My staff, they really care. A lot of them could get higher-paying jobs in a dozen different places. But they’re invested in trying to make a difference. So they work really hard. Part of it is, I guess, a responsibility to help them be here, to give them what I can. And then to make a difference with people. For those that haven’t seen the ramifications of drugs and alcohol. I mean, it is really horrific, not necessarily to them per se but to their family, friends, and those people that are collateral damage. To make a difference keeps me going. The organization, too. They are really invested. They spend a lot of time, a lot of money, and a lot of effort to try to help people. They have for a long time. The numbers are amazing on how many people they help. It seems like every time there’s a problem here or statewide, VOA jumps in.
Have a news tip or an awesome photo to share?