Todd’s Place emphasizes religion in overcoming addictions


Standing in front of Todd’s Place residents and employees and pastors from the area, Victor Shuler and Michael Keltz couldn’t help but get a little emotional.

When they stepped foot inside the Seymour facility that helps men overcome addictions last year, it was a life-changing moment.

It marked the start of their recovery process and developing a relationship with God.

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Kris Hunley, director of operations, welcomes men if they show a willingness to change and put God in their lives. Then they have an opportunity to turn their life around and become productive citizens, he said.

Shuler and Keltz’s tears were tears of joy because they are thankful for everything Todd’s Place provided for them.

They shared their testimonies during Pastor’s Night on April 13 at Todd’s Place.

On June 13, 2017, a day after he arrived at Todd’s Place, Shuler said he was saved and bawled his eyes out.

Three weeks later, he read the Bible and listened to Christian music for the first time, and he said he closed his eyes and started praying to God.

“I finally, for the first time in my life, heard that soft, still voice in my head, and he said, ‘I love you, son,’” Shuler said.

He said he realized God is real, and that guided him to graduating from Todd’s Place on Dec. 2.

“I thank God every day. If it wasn’t for this place, I don’t know where I would be at,” said the 34-year-old, who now works at Cummins Inc. and has his family back in his life.

Keltz graduated from Todd’s Place in January 2017 and said he is privileged and honored to have gone through the program.

“God, I feel like, he did this for me. That’s how he has made me feel. I feel like he put this place here so I could have a life again,” he said.

“I’m 41 years old, and I feel better than I’ve ever felt. I feel like I’m 25. I don’t look it, but I feel it,” he said, smiling.

He encouraged the 97 men currently at Todd’s Place to be still in the Lord because he will guide them and let them know when their time there is done.

“Some of my closest friends now are the people that were kicked to the streets that nobody wants,” Keltz said.

“Those are the people that I hang out with, those are the people that I love and those are the people that I support and employ today,” said Keltz, who worked his way up to kitchen manager at Country Pride in Seymour. “All things are possible with God, and if he can do it for me, he can do it for anybody.”

Shuler said he grew up in Scottsburg with his mother and grandmother because his father was an addict and wasn’t in his life.

Shuler said he began drinking alcohol on weekends when he was in high school but managed to maintain his grades.

An accident in 2004 when he was a junior, however, resulted in him taking pain pills and becoming addicted. He later found OxyContin and said he was up to 200 milligrams a day for more than a year.

On Oct. 4, 2008, his grandmother died. He said that affected the whole family because she was their rock.

He then found methamphetamine, and even when his son arrived in 2015, he said that couldn’t keep him sober.

Last year, he said he reached a point where he didn’t care if he was living or dying and tried killing himself by mixing heroin and meth.

A week before he found out about Todd’s Place, he was in Indianapolis with no phone and a bag of meth in his pocket when he got shot. He said he swallowed the drugs in case the police showed up because he didn’t want to go to jail.

After passing out for a couple of hours, he walked into someone’s house and called 911 and made his way back to Scottsburg.

One day, while riding in a car with his brother, he told Shuler he needed to go to Todd’s Place to get help. Even though Shuler didn’t have any money, Hunley welcomed him. Even though it was a faith-based facility and Shuler hadn’t had church in his life, he was ready to turn his life around.

“I was open to anything that will change my life,” he said.

Keltz said he came from an Army family that traveled all over the world and later had his own family with a wife and two children.

He said he threw it all away when he made some bad decisions.

“I ran like a coward, and I ran right to the bottle,” he said. “I’m that guy that’s one drink away from being high again. It didn’t matter to me if it was going to take me away. That’s what I wanted to do. If it was going to make me not be able to feel anymore, that’s what I wanted to do.”

Before winding up at Todd’s Place, Keltz said he was in a hotel room thinking suicidal thoughts because his wife filed for divorce, his children had nothing to do with him and he was nearly broke.

He finally got in touch with someone at Todd’s Place and gathered 200 pennies so he could take a city bus there. At the door, Hunley asked how he could help, listened to Keltz’s story and told him, “Welcome home.”

“This peace came over my life right then and there,” Keltz said. “It was a peace that I didn’t have to worry anymore, didn’t have to know what was going to happen, how it was going to happen. I had this comfort that just came over me and told me it was going to be OK.”

He was given food and a place to sleep, and he said it was such a blessing because he woke up the next day ready to turn his life around.

He said the recovery process wasn’t easy, and there were times he wanted to give up.

“But God kept putting his hand on me saying, ‘It’s going to be OK,’ and God kept putting brothers in my life that would pick me up when I was on that back porch feeling down,” Keltz said.

He said he was moved by a sermon about God telling him to change his name because addicts carry around a lot of labels from other people. Fellow residents encouraged him to keep praying, and he said he had the opportunity to really connect with God and heard the soft, still voice.

“From that moment on, I was like, ‘I’m going to change my name. I am a child of God and not that guy,’” he said. “I had to start walking that and believing that, and I had to start giving him all of the praise because without God, I’m nothing, and with him, I’m everything, and I can do all things through him who gives me strength.”

That led to his children reaching out to him to reconnect, and he found a good job where he not only helped himself but was able to employ residents of Todd’s Place.

“My life started really taking off to a point that I couldn’t believe the blessing that I was receiving,” Keltz said. “God is so good. It’s unbelievable what happens when I surrendered, when I finally gave up my will. He’s an amazing God, and he has just taken over. It still shakes me up inside when I think about what God does for me.”

During Pastor’s Night, Theo Coleman with The Salvation Army Adele and Robert Stern Red Shield Center in Englewood, Illinois, shared testimony and sang, and Steven McNary, an envoy with The Salvation Army, led worship.

McNary focused on God’s unchanging love.

“Sinful human beings will not usually choose to serve God,” he said. “For so many of us guys, what makes us feel good isn’t always good for us, and until we learn to bury the flesh through the blood of Christ, we will continue to allow ourselves to go down a one-way street the wrong way, and it says, ‘Dead end,’ ‘No outlet.’”

McNary said people can’t claim to have the love of God in their heart if they don’t love their fellow believers.

“Our love for God is of no value if we don’t love each other,” he said. “If we love one another, then it’s evident that we are true servants. God is on the move, and he’s on the move just for you. It’s about the choice you make today where you’ll spend eternity.”

Hunley said Shuler and Keltz are among the 47 graduates since Todd’s Place opened May 23, 2016, with 75 percent remaining clean and sober.

Hunley once was asked what separates Todd’s Place from other drug rehabilitation and transitional facilities. His response was “We add God to it.”

“They need to know that Word of God because that’s the true weapon to fight off that devil out there, fight that evil war,” said Hunley, who is nearly six years clean and sober and has had more than 100 friends die from drug overdoses.

“We’re here to encourage and pray for them and lead them in the right direction to get up every morning and be ready,” he said. “This is the basic training to go out there and live again.”

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Todd’s Transitional Housing Inc., also known as Todd’s Place, is a place for healing and new beginnings for men suffering from various types of addictions.

The motto is “When we help a man, we help a family. When we help a family, we help a neighborhood. When we help a neighborhood, we have been effective in our community.”

The facility is at 4990 N. U.S. 31, Seymour.

To make a donation to help with operating expenses, call 812-271-1199. Todd’s Place is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, so all donations are tax-deductible.


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