Wednesday, February 21 , 2018, 5:04 am | Fair 42º

 
 
 
 
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Santa Barbara Rescue Mission Brings the Bayou to the Central Coast with Annual Fundraiser

From left: Rolf Geyling, SBRM president; Trish Geyling, Auxiliary member; Dar Chandler and L.B. Chandler, SBRM men’s program director. Click to view larger
From left: Rolf Geyling, SBRM president; Trish Geyling, Auxiliary member; Dar Chandler and L.B. Chandler, SBRM men’s program director. (Dale Weber / Dale Weber Photography photo)

The Santa Barbara Rescue Mission Women's Auxiliary raised over $336,000 Saturday, Oct. 3, at their 14th annual "Back to the Bayou" event.  

The women celebrated the Rescue Mission's 50th anniversary with a 1950s themed Rock Around the Bayou benefit complete with an appearance by Elvis (James Kruk).  

The ranch went back to the past and was transformed with an Airstream trailer and outdoor diner while Elvis rocked around the crowd and crooned the classic songs of the '50s.  

The voice of Santa Barbara, Catherine Remak of KLITE 101.7, was the emcee of the day, and when she spoke, everybody listened to her famed and familiar voice.

Ron Gallo, president and CEO of the Santa Barbara Foundation, was honored with the Leni Fe Bland Award.  

He was recognized for his advocacy for those who struggle, and the important role he often plays in ensuring that philanthropic resources are properly stewarded and invested for the maximum benefit to the Santa Barbara Community.  

Ron graciously received the award as a tribute to Leni Fe Bland, who passed away in January of this year.  

From left: Rolf Geyling, SBRM president; Ron Gallo, president and CEO of Santa Barbara Foundation and honoree; Kim Schuck, Auxiliary member; Elvis (James Kruk). Click to view larger
From left: Rolf Geyling, SBRM president; Ron Gallo, president and CEO of Santa Barbara Foundation and honoree; Kim Schuck, Auxiliary member; Elvis (James Kruk). (Dale Weber / Dale Weber Photography photo)

Ron took the opportunity, as well as Peter MacDougall who introduced the award recipient, to eulogize Fe Bland for her compassion and belief in creating opportunities for those who want to redefine their lives.

Leslie Brown, a graduate of the Rescue Mission's 12-month Residential Drug and Alcohol Treatment Program, spoke of her addiction to heroin and how she redefined her life.

Brown said she was "blessed" with the option of prison or a treatment program. She chose the latter and entered the Mission's Bethel House for women Feb. 17, 2012.  She graduated a year later and holds a full-time job in a chiropractic office located in Goleta.  

"I have a vehicle that's registered and insured in my name," Brown said. "I get to pay off my debt to the courts and the state of California."  

She visits the Bethel House often and takes women through the 12-step process and meetings.  

The Santa Barbara Rescue Mission has a 55 percent 5-year recovery rate that contrasts favorably with the national average of 21 percent.  

From left: Karl Willig, Chairman of the SBRM Board; Sharon Wilson, Auxiliary member; Leslie Brown, program speaker and Scott Wilson, SBRM Board member. Click to view larger
From left: Karl Willig, Chairman of the SBRM Board; Sharon Wilson, Auxiliary member; Leslie Brown, program speaker and Scott Wilson, SBRM Board member.  (Dale Weber / Dale Weber Photography photo)

Brown is a living example of a life redefined thanks to those who support the Santa Barbara Rescue Mission.  

The funds raised at this event make it possible to continue to offer people like Brown a successful 12-month residential recovery program, as well as provide for homeless guests.  

The Mission has helped over 630 people to achieve recovery in the last 18 years. 

Rolf Geyling, the Rescue Mission president, said “While only 21 percent of those completing treatment programs nationally maintain their sobriety beyond five years, we are proud that 55 percent of our graduates remain in recovery over this same time period."

— Rebecca Weber represents Santa Barbara Rescue Mission.

 
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