Ozark Center fully healed after May 22 tornado

Monday, January 30, 2012 - Ozark Center fully healed after May 22 tornado

JOPLIN, Mo.—After losing half its Joplin facilities in the May 22, 2011, tornado, Ozark Center, the behavioral health division of Freeman Health System, is fully restored. On January 30, Ozark Center reopened New Directions residential substance abuse treatment and medical detoxification facility, marking the end of its long road to recovery.

“The journey to this point has not been easy,” said Phil Willcoxon, Ozark Center Chief Executive Officer. “The circumstances which brought us here are not ones we would have chosen freely. But this journey has revealed the goodness, the compassion, and the dedication of our staff.”

Eight Ozark Center buildings were destroyed beyond function on May 22. Willcoxon said through the work of an incredibly talented and dedicated group, Ozark Center rose from the rubble, and, by June 1—a mere 10 days after the storm—began offering 90 percent of its services in temporary locations.

In its new home at 3010 McClelland Boulevard, New Directions offers 14 residential substance abuse treatment beds and four private detoxification rooms. The building is also equipped with three individualized counseling offices, two group counseling and education rooms, and a family treatment and intervention room.

“It has been eight months since the staff of New Directions have been able to look around their facility and know they are “home,” said Willcoxon. “One Friday afternoon in May, they left their offices not knowing that 48 hours later, in the blink of an eye, everything about their professional world would change.”

In honor of this monumental day, Ozark Center recognized two patients who have experienced tremendous success thanks, in part, to the counseling provided by New Directions staff. Ozark Center presented these two with coins recognizing their 20- and 10-year sobriety milestones.

About Freeman Health System
Not-for-profit, community-owned, and locally governed, Freeman Health System is a 407-bed, three-hospital system. Based in Joplin, the fourth largest metropolitan area in Missouri, Freeman provides comprehensive healthcare and behavioral health services to an area that includes more than 450,000 residents from Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. For more information, visit freemanhealth.com or facebook.com/freemanhealthsystem. Follow Paula Baker, Freeman President and Chief Executive Officer, at twitter.com/freemanceo.

About Ozark Center
An integral component of Freeman Health System based in Joplin, Missouri, Ozark Center provides comprehensive behavioral health services to children, adults, and families in an area that includes more than 450,000 residents from Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Kansas. Ozark Center continually looks for innovative ways to address the mental health needs of the community and promote awareness of mental illness in an effort to eliminate the discrimination associated with it. For more information, visit ozarkcenter.com or call 417.347.7600.

Story covered by
The Joplin Globe
KOAM-TV 7