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Good Samaritan Lodge helps man get back on his feet

April 08, 2002|BY MARLO BARNHART

For the first time in years, Chad Golden is looking forward to his future, thanks to God and the Hagerstown Union Rescue Mission.

"I was a heroin addict for four years and I just got tired of it," Golden said.

Eighteen months ago, Golden got arrested for drugs ... again. That turned out to be the wake-up call he needed.

"My pastor, Herman Fisler at Grace Bible Church in Greencastle, Pa., sat me down and made some phone calls," Golden said.

Those calls eventually led Golden to the Good Samaritan Lodge, an 89-acre farm on Cearfoss Pike where homeless and substance-addicted men can rehabilitate through hard work and prayer.


While not homeless, Golden was certainly addicted.

"I never stole to support my habit," he said. "I had a job but all my money was going to heroin."

Eventually the drug wrecked his personal life and he sold everything he owned to support his habit.

"I was still actively using heroin the day I went to the farm," he said. "They handed me a shovel and sent me up on the roof to remove shingles."

The farm is operated by Four States Christian Missions Inc., which also runs the mission for homeless men in Hagerstown.

Bruce "Sonny" Shank, executive director of the Union Rescue Mission, said the farm was a dream of the late Jimmy Resh, who also founded the mission. It has been in operation since 1972.

"Jimmy was a true visionary," Shank said. It was that vision that has given many men the only hope they ever had for a drug-free life.

Currently there are seven men living at the farm.

The rehabilitation program is rigorous. Residents must live at the farm every day for six consecutive months and follow a regimented schedule in which every hour is planned.

Shank said Golden is a great example of why the mission maintains the farm.

Each day begins at 6:30 a.m., when all residents must be out of bed. After a 7 a.m. breakfast and devotions, the workday begins. From 9 a.m. to noon, there are chores to do around the farm, Golden said.

Shank said the farm has animals but no crops except for hay.

"After lunch, there are Bible classes and classroom studies," Golden said. "We have to read books and give reports."

Life management skills are taught - things that will help Golden and the others succeed on their own once they leave the farm.

Golden said he has received a great deal of support from Shank and from Brad Jacobs, the director of the farm. And he is attending Mountain View Baptist Church near Clear Spring, where he and the other men at the farm are accepted by the congregation.

"Part of my work there is with the bus ministry and I love it," Golden said. "It gives me a chance to talk to kids about their life choices."

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