BY KEVIN MCCONLOGUE
John and Ashley Bunnell of Springville have always been interested in helping others, especially those who may need a little extra on the road to recovery.
That’s why the couple recently opened up Bunnell House LLC in Tunkhannock. The house is for men over the age of 18 who are recovering from alcoholism and seeking affordable, sober community housing.
John has said that both he and his wife, who is a substance abuse counselor at Endless Mountains Extended Care, have been interested in helping recoveries for a long time.
“We’ve both been interested in helping people for a while,” he said. “We know that this is something positive to the community, that hopefully can get a lot of people back on track.”
The house is a place for people to take their next steps after recovering from alcoholism and to transition back to a normal way of life. It is also a place to go, so families know that the person is safe.
“We want to take some stress away from the families and friends of the individuals, so they can relax and not have to worry,” John said. “I know how hard that can be for families.”
One of the reasons this mission is so close to John’s heart is that he knows what the people are going through. He battled alcoholism of his own and has been sober for 12 years now.
“In my generation you can say that alcohol has been a plague,” he said. “When I finally was on the road to recovery, I didn’t want my parents to have to worry about me all of the time. There was also nothing close to Tunkhannock like this when I was going through my recovery, so we’re trying to create more options around here.”
Although the Bunnells say that treatment for recovering alcoholics in Wyoming County has increased greatly, they still hear of stories where people have to travel out of the area to find one of these types of facilities. They said that staying close to home can be a huge help in the recovery process.
“Everyone in the building is currently from Wyoming County,” Ashley said. “Rather than being shipped off to Wilkes-Barre or Scranton, this is an option for them to stay local. When a person is going through recovery, it’s important to be close to family and have some sense of normalcy. It’s a great way to give back in a positive nature.”
There are some conditions to stay in the house, however, as candidates must go through an interview process to show they are at a certain stage in their recovery. They also must show proof that they are seeking employment, unless something prevents that, like a disability, for instance.
If you know anyone who could benefit from Bunnell Housing LLC, call John at 570-468-7410. There is an application to fill out, and eligibility will be determined from there.
“It’s definitely more tailored to people who are in the later stages of recovery who need that last bit of extra help,” John said. “We already have some people staying there, so it’s already making a difference.”
The Bunnells’ final message to anyone who may be in need of some extra help is to reach out and get it.
“In the past couple years, this county has done a lot of great things and added some great resources to help people,” John said. “No one is alone; seek help if you feel you need it.”
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