Harmon sees local drug treatment program branching out to other counties

Published 8:26 pm Friday, April 5, 2019

As people packed into Danville’s Shepherd’s House to celebrate its second anniversary, CEO Jerod Thomas said, “This all started in an office between two men

Harmon gets a hug from Program Director Roger Fox at the Shepherd’s House second anniversary celebration on Friday. Photo by Robin Hart.

nine years ago. And to this day we’re still running strong.”

Thomas was referring to himself, and retired jailer Barry Harmon, who both wanted to find local treatment opportunities for people addicted to drugs and alcohol which was contributing the chronic jail overcrowding. 

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After being given a lifetime achievement award from Thomas and Shepherd’s House, Harmon received a standing ovation from city, county and state officials, law enforcement officers, detention center deputies and graduates and current clients with their families of the non-residential addiction treatment facility.

Harmon told the crowd that because of the success of Shepherd’s House, “I just wish we could take what we do at the local level and get it to the state level and the federal level.”

Harmon said he knows the program works. “I think this is just the beginning for

“That changed the course of my life forever. I wanted to do the same thing for you guys who are drunk or high. I wanted you to have the same opportunities that were given to me,” Thomas said.

He said, “It started as a whirlwind. We had a great prison program, but then the jail got overcrowded and we started working together to come up with this program.”

Over the course of a few years, “We added Mary Conley. … She’s always fought for Shepherd’s House and for the jail and for the city of Danville.”

Eventually they convinced the magistrates, joint jail committee judges and county attorneys to get on board too, Thomas said.

Harmon holds up a framed newspaper article, written about Shepherd’s House being approved for Boyle County, after getting a lifetime achievement award from the facility. Photo by Robin Hart.

An analogy that Thomas shared was: “In football, everybody has a job to do. And if everybody does their job, then you’ll have a successful play. If one person doesn’t do their job, you’ll have a busted play.

“And it’s the same thing in treatment. … City of Danville, Boyle County and Mercer County, without you guys doing exactly what you’re supposed to do, none of this is ever gonna come to reality,” Thomas said. “I want you all to understand if you don’t keep showing up and doing what we’re doing, this won’t work. We need you all.”