One man’s vision

Helping our community today

By Jim Bucher

What is it about a great idea? The Wright Brothers had one and the world flew. Charles Kettering the self-starter, and John Patterson with the cash register, to name a few.

Jeff Sorrell had a vision too, resulting in the ‘Life Enrichment Center.’

Now some would say, we know the former mentions, but not the latter. Well, you will now because it’s an amazing story and proves one person can make a BIG difference.

“In 1999, I had been working at SuperValu Foods for 15 years. My wife, Valerie, and I took a business trip out to Los Angeles and while there, we toured the Dream Center. It’s a huge ministry located in an old hospital. Traveling back to the airport on the shuttle bus, I really felt like the Lord spoke to my heart and said, we need something like that back in Dayton.” Sorrell says.

So, with a lot of prayer he quit his job in 2000—my hands sweat thinking about that leap of faith—and began overseeing the outreach programs and began some new ones.

“We eventually moved into an old building on Irwin Street in Dayton and started doing outreach ministry to the underserved. In 2002 we incorporated as a non-profit and officially became the Life Enrichment Center (LEC) under the auspices of the Vineyard. We became a “stand alone” non-profit in 2005 governed by a board of trustees. I also resigned my position with the Vineyard in 2005 and became the full-time executive director of the LEC.” Jeff says.

Now they’re located in a 60,000-square foot facility at 425 N. Findlay Street in the old Durion building. Jeff says it was built for his vision.

“My background is in construction and warehousing, and there is nothing to suggest that I should be the executive director of anything. I have a high school diploma as well as a felony conviction for selling drugs back in the late ‘70s,” he says.

Now, jump to 2017. An organization which handed out groceries to the less fortunate has blossomed.

“The Life Enrichment Center is transforming to meet current demands. While the need for meals and groceries has remained steady, we are striving to meet other needs in the community.” Jeff says.

One of the more pressing issues is the heroin epidemic gripping our community. Jeff tells me the zip code around the facility ranks as number one in heroin overdoses.

He was approached by the Montgomery County Health Commissioner about the possibility of the LEC hosting a syringe exchange program. They would not be doing any distribution only providing the site.

“My first reaction was that it sounded like enabling people to stay in bad behavior. I was concerned as to what the reaction would be from our supporters. I had to educate myself as to what it is all about; which is harm reduction.  It is about stopping the spread of Hepatitis C and HIV.  It is about health and wellness and recovery.  After seeking counsel from trusted advisors and much prayer, I agreed to host the program.” Jeff says.

So far, the LEC has referred 25 percent of those who come for treatment.

“I was surprised by the diversity of people who come to the program. They are young and old, male and female, from every walk of life. Heroin addicts are not just those in “shooting galleries” running up drugs. They are your next-door neighbor, fast food workers, doctors, nurses and attorneys, husbands, wives, sons, daughters, and even grandpas and grandmas.” Sorrell says.

And as far as the future and beyond.

“I see the LEC as a mainstay in the Dayton community. An organization that leads by example, driven by grace and unique in its ministry.  It will be respected and appreciated for its dedication to making Dayton a better place to live and helping the less fortunate. I believe it will be a place of refuge and a beacon of light. It will be led by a person who will take it to places that I could not.” Sorrell says.

One man, one vision with help and guidance from above. I think the Wrights, Kettering, and Patterson would be proud.

Cheers and keep up the good fight my friend.

Buch

The Life Enrichment Center is a Christian based non-profit organization dedicated to serving the less fortunate and the underserved through a myriad of services and programs. The LEC is located at 425 N. Findlay Street. Dayton, OH 45404 Phone 937.252.5700 or visit www.daytonlec.org

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Jim Bucher
For over 25 years, Jim Bucher has been a regionally known and loved local television icon. “Buch’s” followers describe him as trustworthy, fun, the guy next door, a friend and role model. You can promote your business with Buch and grab your customer’s attention! Reach DCP freelance writer Jim Bucher at JimBucher@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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