VERMILION, Ohio — There are always turning points in life, and for Haley Simecek, the world she knew and loved quickly disappeared following the death of her father in 2019.
"I just was a version of myself that you're not presently in front of right now," said Simecek.
The loss triggered trauma and intensified Simecek's addiction.
"I am a recovering heroin addict and cocaine addict," said Simecek.
Eventually finding herself homeless, her son and daughter in foster care, Simecek got connected with The Road to Hope.
"Them being a part of my journey is just a miracle, a blessing, to have them by my side to reach these accomplishments that I'm reaching," said Simecek.
The Lorain County non-profit currently provides recovery housing for 200 residents.
"I have a family here," said Simecek.
After living apart for nearly two years, Simecek made enough progress through the program to be reunited with her children.
"Nine months sober, my kids were given to me, full custody. I now have tools to use during that time when my disease wants to sneak up," said Simecek.
News 5 caught up with Simecek and her children as they toured their new home at "The Village."
"We've been trying to grow to meet the need of the community for sure," said Jeffrey Kamms, Road to Hope founder.
The Road to Hope's $3.2 million expansion in Vermilion will provide additional housing for 18 women and up to 24 children.
"While they're here they're still going to be doing recovery plans with the staff. When we first started the Road to Hope back in 2007, I never realized what the demand was," said Kamms.
Kamms began his recovery outreach with just the basics.
"Me and my wife used to take one person into the basement of our home and help them sober up," said Kamms.
As for why he felt compelled to help strangers?
"There was a time in my life that I was lost in addiction," said Kamms.
Sober now for more than two decades, Kamms is on a mission to make sure everyone who wants a fresh start can get one.
“I was really at a spot that I didn't see my life going very far. I want to spend time giving back what was given to me," said Kamms.
The helping hand Simecek found with Road to Hope providing a home, safety and security helped make her family whole again.
"They're not bounced around from location to location like they went through," said Simecek.
As she continues arming herself with the tools she needs to keep her substance abuse disorder in check, Simecek said her disease is doing pushups in the back of her brain, but her willpower is much stronger.
"As much as I fought to get what my disease needed out in the street; I came in tenfold to fight for my life. I’m not going to stop fighting. They call me a warrior," said Simecek.