From its opening in 1984, the Denver Harbor Light center operated a safe haven for men recovering from addiction or looking to prevent relapse. With a capacity for nearly 120 men at a time, the program was seldom less than at capacity.
Space was the only problem. At only 20,000 square-feet, the men’s dorm was in the basement—with no windows for natural light.
In 2013, that all changed with a 30,000 square-feet addition to the facility, bringing the men into the light—literally, out of that basement and into newly-furnished dorms, expanded kitchen, dining room, recreation room, and ample space for the various aspects of the rehabilitation program.
A new 160-seat chapel houses the Lighthouse Corps, with Lieutenant Darrell Williamson serving as administrator/corps officer. The extra seating allows for family or program-alumni to join in Sunday morning worship—a vital component to the success of the overall program.
“The primary goal of the Denver Harbor Light is to provide a variety of services, such as intensive-care management, family reunification, job-readiness classes, life skills training, recreational activities, and transitional housing,” Lieutenant Darrell says. “Our men work hard to obtain a sustainable, self-sufficient living situation, free form addiction through the development of essential life skills.”
Of the men at Denver Harbor Light, about 40% are veterans, and many of those men battle chronic homelessness and need assistance overcoming the issues that have contributed to their current situation.
For Rick Barnes, coming into the Army’s Denver Harbor Light facility and program was just the ticket for his rehabilitation and a growing relationship with God.
“Here, I realized that all I had to do, to be at peace with God, is to ‘Be still’ (Psalm 46:10). I finally got it that I had to forgive myself in order to believe fully that God had already forgiven me!” Rick says.
Rick eventually graduated from the program but remained at the Harbor Light as an employee. In his present role as resident manager, he oversees the program and enforces the rules. Best of all, though, he connects with the men because he knows what they are going through.
Rick was enrolled as a Salvation Army soldier in the Denver Lighthouse Corps on Easter Sunday 2013. He also works at the Harbor Light center as resident manager.
“I believe that God has a plan for me and that He is still at work, shaping me into the man He wants me to be!”
There are 16 Harbor Light centers operated by The Salvation Army in the US. Employing the name “harbor light” is for many a soothing, calming influence for men who have come through so many different storms; navigating some very rough seas.
“The ocean is very dark,” Rick explains, referring to men and women who are lost in despair and hopelessness. “Heading to that light is powerful, and the number one product that comes from that is ‘hope,’ found only in Jesus Christ!”
By Major Frank Duracher