The dunk tank is ready and it’s full of freezing cold water for Discovery House’s annual ‘Returning Fathers to Children and Sons to Families’ Father’s Day fundraiser taking place at noon today (June 20).
At least seven people including Discovery House’s executive director Jerome Abraham will be getting dunked for the cause.
Another person sitting in the dunk tank is Discovery House alumnus Gord Portman who credits his one year sobriety to the Penticton-based mens’ recovery house.
So far, he’s raised over $3,000 for the Father’s Day fundraiser.
“I am so very grateful for everyone who is supporting my journey in recovery. Janet Parker contributed an amazing $1,500. Her continuing support of me and the guys in the house is amazing. Rosemarie Doerksen dropped off a cheque at Discovery House for $1,000,” said Portman on his Facebook page.
On May 22, Portman celebrated being clean for one year, crediting the ongoing counselling he had received from Pathways and from Discovery House as a credit to those who invested in him staying clean.
While still in the throws of his addiction, Portman helped save two people in a house fire in downtown Penticton last year earning him a bravery award by the Royal Canadian Humane Association for his heroic actions. It was this act of bravery and seeing the potential of what he was capable of, that helped him seek help for his addictions.
Portman has also been a big advocate for Pathways who has been providing counselling and courses for him during his recovery. He, along with dozens of others have been out protesting every Sunday outside Pathways trying to save the Penticton addictions counselling centre.
Interior Health pulled all its funding from Pathways on May 31, asking for clients of Pathways to move over to their addictions and mental health services.
But the transition has not gone well for those already very comfortable and safe with their Pathways counsellors.
For Portman, the experience with Interior Health was a disaster.
“I had my first counseling session with Interior Health for drug counseling and I don’t like change. I was talking to some girlfor 15 minutes over the phone I don’t know and I did not feel comfortable talking too,” said Portman. “So I asked her to close my file. We need Pathways to stay open. I’ve been a client there for years. Pathways got me into treatment, one-on-one counseling, my sessions there were one and half hours long. They are a huge part in my recovery and I am a year clean now.”
“It made me realize how much I care about Pathways.”
Luckily for Portman, he still has Discovery House’s professional counselling who he can see once a week.
“But I’m one of the lucky ones. There are a lot of others who need that continued support but don’t have Discovery House to rely on,” he said.
There are 16 others at Discovery House getting their one year sobriety that also rely on counselling to keep them on track, he said.
“I know how fast I can lose everything if I go back into addiction. This is such an important issue. It should be a city issue,” he said.
“IH CEO Susan Brown’s annual salary with benefits is $350,000. Pathways annual funding from IH: $500,000,” he added.
If you would like to pledge Portman in the dunk tank there is still time.
E-transfer to firstname.lastname@example.org.