OCEAN CITY – Community members are encouraged to join the Atlantic Club next month as it recognizes the front-line heroes who kept the recovery center in operation during the global health crisis.
On July 12, the Atlantic Club – a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping individuals and their families recover from the disease of addition – will thank its workers who helped keep the center open during the COVID-19 pandemic with a special recognition event.
“We plan to have enough people there to form a semi-circle around the Garden of Hope and give a hug to the club and the people who kept it going,” said Colleen Wareing, Atlantic Club board member and outreach committee chair. “Anybody is welcome to attend.”
Wareing said it was the club’s front-line heroes who kept the recovery center open as it continued to offer 12-step meetings and access to assistance for newly recovered addicts and for those at-risk individuals in isolation during the stay-at-home order.
As essential programs continued to operate, staff and guests wore masks, participated in temperature checks, practiced social distancing, and limited meeting attendance.
“The club did a great job to make sure everyone was safe …,” Wareing said. “For them to step up to keep these people from relapsing and to be a friendly face when they walked in the door was wonderful.”
Glenn Heagerty, board chairman and club manager, said the Atlantic Club remained open, even as area churches and community centers temporarily suspended its recovery meetings.
“They came every day,” he said. “We had meetings every day, and they were so appreciative that we were open. We were the only game in town.”
And as guests came through the doors each day, so did staff.
“Some of the workers had underlying health conditions and still showed up to work,” Heagerty said. “They are just dedicated people. All of our staff are recovered alcoholics or addicts or both, and they understand the importance of this.”
Heagerty noted meetings and community connections are essential to a person’s recovery.
“We stayed open for people in recovery, so they could do what they normally do, especially the newer ones,” he said. “They really need to be with people and have a place to go where they feel safe. It’s how they stay sober and clean.”
The recognition of the Atlantic Club’s front-line heroes will take place July 12 at 10:15 a.m. Wareing said the club will also thank its staff with an ice cream and coffee social, banners of thanks, purple lights and gifts of appreciation, among other things.
“COVID has taken front and center, as it should,” she said, “but addiction hasn’t stopped.”