Posted by : Monitor Admin | On : October 12, 2013

Monitor Photo/Pearl Cantrell Honored guests at the Grace House benefit gala were the residents there.

Monitor Photo/Pearl Cantrell
Honored guests at the Grace House benefit gala were the residents there.

By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

CEDAR CREEK LAKE-The recently opened Grace House of Cedar Creek Lake located in Tool held two fundraisers Oct. 5. The first was a 5K run, at the Mabank Park and the second, that evening, consisted of a gala dinner and auction at the Lone Star Ranch, just west of Athens. Both events, and a third coming up on Oct. 21 at the Cedar Creek Country Club, are meant to introduce the women’s transitional housing program and its need for monthly financial support to a wider audience.
Grace House is a faith-based ministry kicked off by the Christian Life Center Church. It focuses on assisting women-at-risk in rebuilding their lives, offering support, training and hope following incarceration. The six-month program offers 24/7 supervised living in a safe environment. Residents learn life skills, like budgeting, homemaking and saving money, as well as receive spiritual training critical to their ongoing recovery.
The evening gala featured women speakers who have overcome addiction and the destructive lifestyles that kept them mired in difficulties and failure. Their overriding message was that people they didn’t know who supported programs, such as the one offered at Grace House helped them.
“You’re changing lives one by one,” Lori Newton said. “It’s because of people like you that I’m here today,” Carie Goodrich said.
Each woman had a harrowing story to tell of her many bouts with drug and alcohol abuse and addiction. And when they had exhausted “every ounce of hope” their family had, they had to reach out to God and a community of strangers whose financial support made a transitional treatment program possible.
Goodrich told how she had borrowed the $50 entrance fee for a program in Houston, because there was nothing at Cedar Creek Lake. After a three-hour interview, she was accepted. She asked if she could just stay there, seeing she didn’t have anywhere else to go and no money. They said, yes. She told how her decision to leave everything familiar was confirmed to her by the appearance of a precious Bible verse; she had committed to memory. It cropped up three times in succession, while she was fighting the impulse to runaway from the scary unknown of rehabilitation. Those words were” For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope,” Jeremiah 29:11.
“It’s because of people like yourself that I‘m able to be here and know that I have a future and a hope,” Goodrich said.
It was obvious from the many tears and embraces from the women now living at Grace House that house director Penni Simms is much loved and a great source of encouragement to them. “I want to thank all of you for showing God’s Grace, through your prayers and contributions to Grace House,” Simms said.
Kathy Lamb sang what seemed the theme of the evening “I Am Redeemed” by Big Daddy Weave. With words like: “Seems like all I could see was the struggle. Haunted by ghosts that lived in my past. Bound up in shackles of all my failures, wondering how long is this going to last? And you look at this prisoner and say to me son, “Stop fighting a fight that’s already been won.” I am redeemed. You set me free. So I’ll shake off these heavy chains and wipe away every stain. I’m not who I use to be. I am redeemed.
All my life I’ve been called unworthy, made by the voice of my shame and regret. But I hear you whisper, “Child, lift up your head.” Then I remember, you’re not done with me yet.
Musical artist Jon Rutherford also performed some of his own songs, which inspired and entertained the company of around 125 attending.
Tucker Electricity service providers Cynthia and Steve Tucker offered The Lone Star Ranch as a venue for the evening. Kenneth Odom acted as auctioneer for the evening and Vetoni’s Italian Restaurant provided the catered meal.
Executive director Jeff Reynolds is asking all those who have somehow been touched by alcohol and drug addiction to consider supporting the work at Grace House through a financial contribution. “Many are in the midst of the fight of addiction and you could be their connection to a new life,” he said. “Open the door of hope for someone today.”
Contributions may be made by mail to PO Box 43012 Seven Points TX 75143 or by calling (903) 432-0012. One-time gifts or an ongoing monthly donation is most appreciated, he said.



Posted by : Monitor Admin | On : October 2, 2013

Monitor Photo/Ronald Wheeler

Monitor Photo/Ronald Wheeler

Henderson County Sheriff’s deputy Jannell Dunnington and McGruff welcome visitors at the volunteer expo at the Cain Center in Athens Sept. 21.
More photos from this event can be found in the Thursday, October 3, 2013 issue of The Monitor.



Posted by : Monitor Admin | On : September 28, 2013

Monitor Photo/Tracy Martin Guest  speaker and author David Slaughter autographs one of his motivational book for Karla Dunson, an advertising executive for The Monitor, who won a copy of “Major Opportunities–the doors are wide open.”

Monitor Photo/Tracy Martin
Guest speaker and author David Slaughter autographs one of his motivational book for Karla Dunson, an advertising executive for The Monitor, who won a copy of “Major Opportunities–the doors are wide open.”

By Tracy Martin
The Monitor Correspondent

ATHENS–A warm Hawaiian breeze drifted through the Athens Country Club Sept. 25 for the Henderson County United Way fundraiser kickoff. More than 140 guests received a pep talk from motivational author David Slaughter, who had high praise for the Henderson County branch, for the 90 percent of all donations received benefitting local charities. Only 10 percent of funds raised go toward administrative costs. Slaughter added, “When they asked me speak, they asked what my fee was and I said nothing. They said that works great with our budget!” Slaughter’s newest book is titled “Major Opportunities: the door is wide open.” He added that he donates a portion of all his book sales to charities.
The Henderson County United Way has set a goal of $185,000 for businesses and organizations attending the luncheon to fill through their fundraising efforts, among their employees and associates.
The theme this year is “No Kind Heart Lacks a Reward,” a wise saying among the ancient Hawaiians, which campaign chairman Tony Kalawe recited in Hawaiian for the audience to learn.
“A‘ohe lokomaika’i, i nele i ke pa na’i.” The message was not lost in the translation. Kalawe reminded guests the true importance of giving first, before asking co-workers and others to join in. “But we can have fun too,” he said. “All our events we have planned will have this same Hawaiian theme, it just adds some excitement to the campaign.”
The next planned event is set for Saturday, Oct.10. The Farmers Market in the city parking lot will include cheeseburgers, Hawaiian-style and authentic tropical shaved ice. It begins at noon and is sponsored by the Central Business Association.
This year, United Way has selected 21 local organizations to receive assistance, ranging from the American Red Cross to the East Texas Crisis Center, Meals on Wheels and an emergency fund to assist the elderly.
When a UW volunteer asks you to make a donation, ask to see the complete list of deserving charities, so you can designate where you would prefer your donation be sent.