Hope Manor wants to help local women

Priscilla Leavitt hopes the Hope Recovery Manor at 1016 Market St. in Parkersburg can open this year.

Plans call for the facility to provide 12 bedrooms, a dining room, gathering room, visitation and counseling areas for women who are continuing on their road to recovery from substance abuse.

The women would have to be sober for six months after receiving primary rehabilitation services before entering Hope Recovery Manor, said Leavitt, a psychologist and owner of the building in which the facility would be located.

Mentors from churches and a pastor would teach life skills to the women, and group and individual counseling would be provided.

The women would stay at the facility for a year and then receive another year of mentoring and counseling outside the manor, Leavitt said.

The goal is for the women to start a new life with new friends and a “good” job, Leavitt said.

Leavitt is leasing the building to the nonprofit Hope Recovery Manor Board of Directors. Grants and donations would help fund the building repairs and program operations.

The Junior League of Parkersburg is working with the Hope board on the project.

“The Hope Recovery Manor is a sober living program that started from an idea coming from the Junior League of Parkersburg’s Community Research Committee,” Leavitt said.

“They couldn’t help but see the huge problem staring us in the face – drug addiction. We are now losing a second generation to drugs. Parents who are incarcerated or unable to function have left children in our communities in peril,” she said.

The Junior League determined there were recovery facilities and programs for men but not enough facilities for women.

About $200,000 is needed for fire safety code improvements and to upgrade the building and its carriage house, said Leavitt, a member of the Junior League of Parkersburg.

Hope Recovery Manor has a business license and is working to secure 501c3 nonprofit status.

Leavitt hopes an executive director can be hired by March and improvements to the building can be completed by early April. After that, grants to fund the program will be sought.

The building, situated next to the Knights of Columbus Hall, used to be Burdette Funeral Home. Over the years, other business uses were considered for the building.

“I felt the building was meant to help women,” Leavitt said.

To make a tax-deductible contribution, or sponsorship, to Hope Recovery Manor or seek additional information on the project, contact Priscilla Leavitt at 304-481-7300.


Pastor John Lowther feels blessed to be returning to the pulpit full time this Sunday at St. John United Methodist Church in Vienna.

Lowther has been on a medical leave of absence for about a year while battling cancer. He led services Christmas Eve 2018 and a few services last month at St. John, 3911 Grand Central Ave.

Lowther and his wife, Veronica, want the church to be packed with people for the 11 a.m. Sunday church service. St. John can hold about 300 people.

After the service, the celebration will continue at Logan’s Roadhouse in Vienna, at around 12:30 p.m., for family and friends.

“It’s been a real journey,” John said. “So many people have helped us … the church, school and community.”

He estimates receiving thousands of get-well cards, along with monetary donations and countless prayers.

John, who has non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (diffuse large B-cells), underwent a stem cell transplant in January 2018 at J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital-WVU Medicine in Morgantown.

The transplant was unsuccessful and in April John was told he had six months to live, he said.

Last summer, John began the new CAR T-cell therapy at the Cleveland Clinic. His white blood cells were genetically modified in a California laboratory and then returned to his blood system in hopes the cells would kill the cancer.

At first doctors were not sure this therapy was working. John was told he was close to dying.

Just before Thanksgiving, a nurse at Cleveland Clinic told John he should “start living like he was alive” and maintain a positive attitude.

“It was like God was speaking to me,” John said. “She was right. I was looking at the negative.”

By December there was a significant decrease in the number of cancer cells, Veronica said.

John will undergo radiation on his shoulder, elbow and armpit. The cell therapy is working on these three areas, just not as quickly, because these are likely the areas where the cancer originated, Veronica said.

John, Veronica and their two children, Beth, 15, and John, 17, have recently returned from a “dad didn’t die cruise” to Mexico to celebrate John’s improved health. The Christian cruise featured gospel singers and Bible studies.

Contact Paul LaPann at plapann@newsandsentinel.com