Todd’s Place receives award

When Kris Hunley of Austin decided to open Todd’s Place, a transitional housing and detox facility, in Seymour, he knew it wouldn’t be an easy road.

But taking the easy road out is not how Hunley does business.

Having a heroin and alcohol addiction for 25 years, he was able to get out of that lifestyle and is now five years sober and clean. He’s dedicated his life to helping other men do the same.

Since opening May 23, 2016, 28 men have graduated from Todd’s Place and 22 of them have remained clean and sober, Hunley said.

Besides helping men turn their lives around, Todd’s Place also took an old nursing home facility that had sat vacant on U.S. 31 for years and gave it a new purpose.

On Aug. 31, during a National Drug Overdose Awareness event at Harmony Park, Seymour City Councilman Shawn Malone presented Hunley; his wife, Angie, and Todd’s Place with the Seymour Shine award. They were nominated by Mayor Craig Luedeman’s office.

“These folks are doing great things in our community by providing a place for these gentlemen who have chosen sobriety and want to move forward and do great things in our community,” Malone said. “Please lift them up and support them in this work.”

It is the fourth time the city has bestowed the award since creating it in 2014 to encourage residents and business owners to take care of their properties and to recognize those who make noticeable improvements.

Past recipients have included Martin and Connie Hernandez for their restaurant Mi Casa on South Broadway Street, Darin Johnson for creating the Grassy Fork Trail in Freeman Field and Chad and Kim Cooper for cleaning up the old concrete block and brick plant property at Eighth and Elm streets.

Many of the men currently staying at Todd’s Place joined the Hunleys on stage in accepting the award.

Kris Hunley said he got to the point in his life where he went to the Lord and asked him for help in beating his drug addiction.

“I went to the altar, and I made the Lord a promise,” Hunley said. “I said, ‘This is bigger than me, but it’s not bigger than you, and if you’ll take all this away from me, I’ll do whatever you want me to do.’ Be careful what you ask for.”

After meeting his wife, the two began traveling through Seymour on their way to Indianapolis, where Hunley was running a transitional housing for Salvation Army graduates.

“I was looking to buy that transitional house, but God shut that door because he had a different plan,” Hunley said. “I kept driving by the old nursing home on 31, and God kept saying this is the place.”

At first, Hunley didn’t know what that meant.

“I drove around it and said, ‘This is the place for what?” he said.

But Hunley said God showed him what the facility could become.

“I saw these hallways and beds full of guys recovering,” he said.

The Hunleys researched the property and found Grover Stacey of Scott County, a relative of Angie’s, owned the property.

“When we walked through the building, it was a mess,” Kris Hunley said. “It had sat empty for a long time, but in nine months we got the place together.”

What makes Hunley’s work worthwhile is not the paycheck, he said, but seeing a friend he used to get high with turning his life around and getting clean.

“I made a commitment to this community,” he said. “I met with Shawn Malone and the mayor and I promised them that this would not be a flophouse, and I’ve kept my word.”

The Hunleys run a tight ship and those who aren’t ready to get clean or don’t follow the rules must leave.

“I’ve kicked out over 200 guys who don’t want to do what they’re supposed to,” he said.

Police K-9s do walk throughs of the building checking for drugs and residents are given random drug tests and must pass a Breathalyzer each time they enter the building, Hunley said.

Recovery is not for the weak, and you have to keep God in the middle of it, he said.

“I praise God I’m not where I used to be,” he said. “But today I can hold my head up high and help pull brothers out of Austin and everywhere else, out of these jails and prisons and show them there is a different way to live.”

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Fundraiser for Todd’s Place Transitional Housing and Detox Facility in Seymour

Beauty from Ashes Tattoo Parlor, 303 Pennsylvania Ave., in Crothersville is conducting Tattoos for Transitions.

Tattoo artist Kyle McIntosh will be donating 100 percent of the proceeds from tattoos done from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday to Todd’s Place. Walk-ins will be done on a first come, first served basis.

“If you are interested in getting a great tattoo, and you are wanting to support a great cause this is your chance,” McIntosh said.

After hearing about the facility’s recent financial struggles, McIntosh, a former drug user, said he felt called to help.

“I’m hoping to raise a good amount of money for them,” he said. “We desperately need this place in our community. I don’t know how much our contribution will help, but at the end of the day, at least we can all say we tried. I’m a huge believer in being the difference and making the difference, instead of just talking about it on the side line.”