Ribbon cutting ceremony held Tuesday for Rochelle Recovery Center

‘We're just trying to let people know that there is hope’

By Jeff Helfrich, Managing Editor
Posted 2/15/24

On Tuesday, a ribbon cutting ceremony was held for the Rochelle Recovery Center at 242 May Mart Drive in Rochelle. 

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Ribbon cutting ceremony held Tuesday for Rochelle Recovery Center

‘We're just trying to let people know that there is hope’


ROCHELLE — On Tuesday, a ribbon cutting ceremony was held for the Rochelle Recovery Center at 242 May Mart Drive in Rochelle. 

The Rochelle Recovery Center serves Ogle and DeKalb Counties as a Sauk Valley Voices of Recovery entity. It offers peer coaching, recovery meetings, a safe place for people who are on the verge of using, and recovery-related resources. The location opened in August 2023. 

Sauk Valley Voices of Recovery is a recovery community based out of Dixon. For the past three years, it has covered Lee, Whiteside and Ogle counties and recently started coverage of addiction needs in DeKalb County. The Rochelle Recovery Center is also the hub for the Ogle-DeKalb counties recovery-oriented system of care (ROSC) council, which brings together a coalition of local stakeholders from hospitals, police departments, businesses and more to look at the area and its addiction needs to try to get it moving in a positive direction. 

“We're just trying to make sure that everybody in the community is involved with the ROSC, anybody that has decision-making capability or that is a person of lived experience,” Ogle/DeKalb ROSC Coordinator Heather Tomlinson said. “We want to make sure that everybody's voice is heard and that the people that can solve the problems for the people whose voices need to be heard are there to do that.”

SVVOR Executive Director Gerald Lott said he got involved with helping those in the community with substance abuse issues after battling addiction of his own and noticing barriers to treatment when he tried to get substance abuse help for his daughter. 

“At that point I realized I needed to do something to help,” Lott said. “I quit my other job and went into this full-time and took a leap of faith. I ended up with an amazing team. We're just keeping things going. We're just trying to let people know that there is hope. Sometimes it's not that we can help the person that's suffering. Sometimes it's the child of the person that's suffering. When someone calls and says they want help, we go and help them find treatment or whatever may be the next step for them. Sometimes we can't help that person. But there's an entire family around them. If we can stop it from becoming intergenerational, we really hope to do that.”

The Rochelle Recovery Center is available for free to anyone in the community that wants to do substance abuse support meetings. Current Rochelle Recovery Center and SVVOR projects include working on a collegiate recovery community at Northern Illinois University, putting together a recovery farm, and working on a team text line. 

“Please let people know that we're here,” Lott said. “This isn't just a place to send the people you're tired of listening to and dealing with. It's also a place to send somebody who wants to help and volunteer. I believe we all have a purpose and talent and those are where we connect with people. Anybody who is in recovery, send them over and we'll find something to do with them.”

The ribbon cutting was hosted by the Rochelle Chamber of Commerce and City of Rochelle. Speakers included Chamber Executive Director Tricia Herrera, Mayor John Bearrows, and State Rep. Bradley Fritts. Herrera welcomed the Rochelle Recovery Center on Tuesday.

“A few months ago we met with the Rochelle Recovery Center and heard its story on services provided in other areas, the needs it saw in Rochelle and how it got here,” Herrera said. “We want to welcome and thank you. You have provided the service and you know that all of the people that come here and use your services are the most important part and piece of this. We thank you for that and for investing in our community. Anything we can do for you, please let us know.”

Fritts spoke about the work that the Rochelle Recovery Center does to fight the stigma of addiction and said he works with SVVOR at the state level to help the local community.

“It's an illness just like anything else,” Fritts said. “I think you've done a phenomenal job, and everyone here is a testament to it, to take a little bit of the stigma away and say that there are resources and help. There's not one of us in this room that hasn't been touched by it in some way, shape or form. I can't thank you enough for that and I look forward to continuing to be a resource for you at the state level.”

Bearrows thanked the Rochelle Recovery Center’s leaders for choosing Rochelle to provide its services to help city and area residents. He offered the city’s help with anything that the center needs in the future.

“We've had a lot of ribbon cuttings, and I'm here to say that you folks have made the biggest impact of any ribbon cutting I've ever seen,” Bearrows said. “You're not selling products. You're about the future of people, which is a product of our environment. The way you talk about being able to help them is amazing, and I thank you for that.”