ReVIDA hosts Chamber ribbon cutting

ReVIDA Recovery Center welcomed the Morristown Area Chamber of Commerce for a ribbon cutting Wednesday. Pictured from left: Greg Phillips, Erik Miller, Dr. Kevin Johnson, Brett Swindall, Kellie McDonald, Kaissen Carr, Stephanie Diamond, Carter Wright and Vinisha Narwani.

After many postponements due to COVID-19, ReVIDA Recovery Center finally got to hold a ribbon cutting with the Morristown Area Chamber of Commerce for its facility at 230 Bowman Street, Suite 3 in Morristown.

“It’s always exciting to see new businesses in the area,” said Tony Miksa, president of Walters State Community College. “It’s always exciting when they’re part of the Chamber. This is a business in the area this is great in healthcare that helps our community. It’s a wonderful thing.”

Angelee Murray, director of corporate and community development for ReVIDA, stressed the treatment opportunities and other resources available at ReVIDA.

“What we do at ReVIDA is not just about us, but community partnerships, the families and individuals that we treat,” Murray said. “Last year, we had 157 new patients admitted to treatment just in this office. Those individuals positively impacted seven others (each), which means 1,099 individuals across Hamblen County and the Lakeway Area were positively impacted because of the treatment that was provided out of this office.

“There’s treatment out there. We can provide hope, happiness and joy for families in this community,” Murray said.

Program Director Kaasen Carr has been with ReVIDA for two and a half years.

“It has been one of the best blessings in disguise, in a sense, for me to be here,” Carr said. “I’ve learned more about myself, as I’ve worked here, experiencing interactions with our patients, clients and community partners.”

Carr’s story about how she came to Morristown is an interesting one.

“I have a great-aunt who had a disorder and I watched my family help her along the way,” Carr said. “I’ve always been in a family of service. My mom, Denise Carr, worked in service as well, (plus) my father and my sisters. That’s all we’ve really ever known.

“It brings joy to my heart to be able to go and do that for others. I feel like being here and being able to have my team because I don’t do this on my own, I have a great and wonderful team that is in the field and are boots on the ground,” Carr said. “They have more experience in counseling, our physicians, nurses, our front office staff and patients. I owe a lot to them.”

Chief Operating Officer Greg Phillips drove from Nashville to be part of the ceremony.

“ReVIDA is a community-based mission organization,” Phillips said. “We cannot serve the people we serve without partnerships, without collaboration and without help from everybody in this industry or organization that you represent. All of us are touched in one way or another by addiction. It’s a calling, when you come into this field and it’s something you are driven to do.”

Phillips was taken out of a job in corporate America when he decided to come to the recovery field.

“It was time for me to leave,” he said. “I came to a small organization whose mission statement I believe in and can get behind. We need everybody in Morristown and in all of the communities we’re in to help defeat the stigma so we can give people the opportunity to give their lives back, to become gainfully employed, to finish educational opportunities and to have meaningful relationships.”

Casey Carringer, clinical engagement director at Ballad Health in Johnson City, is one of ReVIDA’s community partners.

“We have found an incredible partner with ReVIDA, whether it be on the Tennessee side or the Virginia side,” Carringer said. “I wasn’t even through the door and Angelee, Chris and I were talking about an opportunity to leverage one another’s assets. We’ve had the opportunity to work together and see some programs and take what we can bring to the table, rather than replicate services, to bring together an array of options for an individual because no one person’s recovery journey pathway looks the same.”

Eric Landry, faith-based community coordinator for East Tennessee for the State of Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, serves 33 counties.

“I’ve been acquainted with ReVIDA since they’ve opened their office in Knoxville,” Landry said. “We hear all of the time that there are many pathways to recovery and that we need to meet people where they are. I’ve found in the 33 counties that I serve, so many people want to meet people and bring them where they want them to be. That’s detrimental to those with substance abuse disorder. I hear a lot of pushback with churches about MAT therapy and pushback from community members. You have a strong advocate with me and the state knowing that you can’t get anybody into church or recovery after they’re dead. We need to know what each other is doing so that we’re not out there reinventing the wheel. I’m proud to be a part of the community here.”

Hamblen County Mayor Bill Brittain knows the value of ReVIDA. He had a family member undergo treatment there.

“In county government, we have the law enforcement as well as the City of Morristown. We also operate the jail and the court system where 90 percent of the folks incarcerated are there due to something related to drug use,” Brittain said. “We see the down side of addiction and substance abuse. We’re getting ready to spend about $80 million on a new justice center because of that. What’s promising in this development here is another treatment option here in the community. We’ve got to have it. Our family has been through that path. This is a very important event and development for our community.”

ReVIDA has three Southwest Virginia locations in Abingdon, Duffield, and Wytheville. ReVIDA’s Tennessee locations are Newport, Johnson City, Morristown and Knoxville.