WILMINGTON — Clean Acres is a home and 15-acre farm with 26 chickens, three horses, five cats, and a pot-bellied pig named Oliver. Residents take care of the menagerie, cook meals, care for the lawn and garden, and clean the home to perfection.
This sober-living home for men, operating since April 2015, is managed by Bob Hasler, Chris Arnold and Mike Rains. They say at least 25 men at various times have enjoyed the safe environment.
Men can live at Clean Acres as long as they want.
“Clean Acres is the best thing that has happened to me. It has changed my thinking and my life. Now I am proud of my life,” said Jacob. Soon he is returning to his vocation as a welder.
Bob Hasler, Building Manager, is connected to several homes run by New Housing Ohio.
“An Ohio bill mandates that at least one female and one male sober-living home should be in each county in Ohio,” he said. Clean Acres is helping to fulfill that mandate and is the only sober-living home that is also a farm.
Chris Arnold, the House Manager, is retired from the U.S. Navy Reserves, and now he has a service of another kind. He is available at Clean Acres in the evenings and on the weekends in addition to working full-time at Hood Packaging in Wilmington. He also attends Southern State and will soon complete his associate’s degree in chemical dependency.
He knows all about the addictions of men at Clean Acres: “When the men twist the truth a bit, I know how their minds work — I used the same excuses six years ago!”
Mike Rains, the Assistant House Manager, is at Clean Acres during the weekdays. He is a retired Southern Baptist pastor. He served a church for 15 years, and when his wife died, he was devastated. He had lost hope.
“I started drinking and doing drugs,” he said. “Then I was in a horrific car accident and being taken to OSU with life-threatening injuries. I heard God speak and tell me this was my last chance.”
Now he gives hope to countless men every day. He says, “I enjoy being here. Everyone is treated with dignity and respect.”
Men at Clean Acres have household chores, but they are also expected to be honest and to observe house rules. They must be connected to Talbert House or Solutions, attend AA or NA meetings, and study a curriculum at the home. There is also a spiritual element to the curriculum.
“After all, the second step in AA is ‘recognizing a higher power than yourself,‘“Arnold said.
Not only are the men engaged in sober living, but they also are learning valuable life lessons.
One day recently, they were researching organic weed killers since many pesticides are harmful to their animals. They are growing organic food, also. They even know what it’s like to round up multiple cats to take to the vet for spaying and neutering.
That day, and the day the chickens got out of the pen, were hilarious, according Rains.
One resident, Kenny, values “the support and relationships with others” at Clean Acres. The men constantly rely on each other. They also laugh, according to Arnold: “I usually get about 50 texts from Jacob each day, and maybe one of those is serious!”
Clean Acres has room for 10 residents, and Arnold hopes to see more men walk through the door soon. He and Rains are especially happy when men “find the answer.”
They have nothing else on a wish list — unless someone wants to give them more cleaning supplies …