Brian’s Safehouse Hosts First Homecoming for Graduates and Presents Hope Award

PHOTO CAPTION: Left:  Cormie Hildebrand, Right:  President of the Brian’s Safehouse Board of Directors Harry Hoskins, presented the award to Cormie Hildebrand for “Bringing Souls Hope in the Battle Against Addiction.”

Prosperity, WV—(WWNR) Brian’s Safehouse hosted its first Homecoming Picnic and presented its annual Hope Award on Sunday, October 10, 2021 on the grounds of Brian’s Safehouse. Graduates and past residents were invited to campus to reunite those from Brian’s Safehouse and Sparrow’s Nest who have worked together to regain the lives they lost to addiction and to celebrate their sobriety. “The picnic provided the opportunity to build community and to share about their journey and encourage others who are walking alongside of them,” Safehouse cofounder and Executive Director Leon Brush said.

Every year, the Safehouse presents the Hope Award to someone who is “bringing souls hope in the battle against addiction.” This year’s recipient, Cormie Hildebrand, has been a part of the Safehouse since before it opened its doors and is beloved by his students, so it was determined the award should be presented while graduates and past residents were gathered.

Hildebrand is a 93-year-old who knows firsthand the despair and misery that comes with addiction. He has been passionate about sharing his story since his own deliverance from alcohol at the age of 33, often sharing with those who are themselves trapped in a substance use disorder, at other times it is with their loved ones, so when he was given the opportunity to teach at Brian’s Safehouse, it was a natural fit.

Brian’s Safehouse was founded after the death of Brian Brush, who died at the age of 23 of an opioid overdose. Brian had fought hard to break free of his addiction. His parents, Leon and Donita, did everything they could to help him, and Hildebrand was part of those efforts. It was heartbreaking when Brian lost his battle, but out of that tragedy, the desire burned in Leon’s and Donita’s hearts to provide a safe place where young men could learn how to overcome their addictions.

As plans for the Safehouse took shape, it was obvious that Hildebrand needed to be part of the program. “Cormie brought hope to Donita and me when we were trying to help our own son who was lost in addiction,” Brush said. “He has always been an encourager to those who lost their way.”

Hildebrand has taught Bible at the Safehouse since it opened its doors in 2008, sharing with the men how to memorize the Scriptures that help them deal with the realities of life. “Over the past 13 years, he has been a teacher, communicator, and a living example to those who want to change their lives for the better,” Brush said.
One graduate described Hildebrand’s role in his life as “…an inspiration, hope for the long run. An example of what we can overcome and how to stay that way. He taught me how to get the most out of the Word (of God)—one of the most valuable lessons I have ever been taught.”

Of his service to others, Hildebrand said, “(The) reason I do what I do: because people did it for me. I share my life story, how I came from down in the pit of addiction to alcohol and a terrible lifestyle. With the help of people who were interested in seeing me recover, I finally got into recovery and became a part of a support group. God has used those people and that support group for over 60 years now to not only get me sober but to keep me sober.”

The Homecoming Picnic brought together graduates and past residents of both the men’s and women’s programs, Brian’s Safehouse and Sparrow’s Nest, respectively, their children, current residents, staff, and members of the Board of Directors. Cormie Hildebrand is a member of the Board of Directors.