“What’s your greatest joy about your work?” Linda Tucker was asked.
She thought for a moment and her eyes filled with tears as she answered. “The little things — watching these women find joy again, or get a driver’s license back. Just watching their excitement for life come back.”
Tucker is the Recovery House Coordinator for Clean Acres, a women’s recovery home in Blanchester. The home has been open almost a year, and the first anniversary will be celebrated with an open house on Saturday, May 21. The community is invited to enjoy pulled pork, a bake sale, corn hole and other activities. The Blanchester Food Pantry, mothers of residents and the recovery community are working to make the day special.
The celebration will include a “poker run,” provided by The Dry Riders, a sober motorcycle club. Participants will pick up cards at several stops, and the last card will be collected at Clean Acres. Also, the public will hear speeches by Clinton County Common Pleas Judge John W. “Tim” Rudduck, Blanchester High School Principal Rick Hosler, Tucker and Clean Acres’ most “senior” resident, Amy Staigner.
Staigner has been at Clean Acres for 10 months, and during that time has obtained her driver’s license again, has been gainfully employed, and is making plans to move to her own apartment. She credits Clean Acres with changing her life, and she wants to make her next home in Blanchester — quite a commitment for someone who had never heard of Blanchester, Ohio.
“Everyone depends on each other here,” Staigner said. “It’s easy to talk with these women. And, I like to play games — probably more than the other women do — so I’m always asking them to play. We also have lots of music.”
Amy’s smile proves her excitement about the next chapter in her life.
Women come to Clean Acres from a variety of places, including treatment centers, jail or unsafe housing.
“The first priority is to make them feel safe,” Tucker said. “Then they build relationships and the women here show hope … without judgment.” Women are not required to commit to a particular length of stay at Clean Acres — they are simply asked to stay at the home 6-12 months. They do all of the housekeeping and cooking, and the women are grateful for their home.
One resident admits, “I came to this sober living home looking for support. I feel like since I’ve been here, I’ve gotten that support … I didn’t know that I could have fun in sobriety … I feel like I’m becoming a better person every day … I am understanding what life is about now.”
Without Linda Tucker, this home would not be the haven for these special women. She trained for this job; she has an Associate of Applied Science from Southern State in Human and Social Services, Chemical Dependency.
However, Clean Acres is more than a career. Tucker admits her “heart is in this home.” She is available at all times of the day and night, even though she has five children of her own ranging from 15 years to six months. She is quick to say could not live her passion if she didn’t have a top-notch assistant, Beckie Barber. According to Tucker, “Beckie is one of the most important components to Clean Acres, and she is willing to do anything needed.”
Not only does Tucker credit Barber, but she thanks the community of Blanchester.
“Everyone has been outrageously supportive. I am so thankful for them and the way they have accepted us. I also appreciate all of their work on the open house,” she said.
Grateful for support
Tucker expresses her gratitude to many locals for their support of Clean Acres, including: James Cramton Allstate agent, Mt. Orab Food Court, Save a Lot, Wal-Mart, Target, Ideal Fingertips, Katie Shumacher and Entertrainment Junction, Advance Auto, Autozone, Dover USFC, Diane Bailey and Fifth Third Bank, McCoy’s Catering, Gold Star Chili, the Doak family, Hines & Abriched fundraising consultants, the recovery community, the men and women from Clean Acres, Highball, Mojo Cadillac, Dry Riders, Judge Rudduck, Rick Hosler, Amy Staiger, Deb Waters, Ralph Barber, Gwen Florea, Jaquie Baca, John Robertson, and “all the people through out the community that have been supportive in any way.”