The Christian View magazine  
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Shining the Light of Christ
Matthew 5:16

Lives Are Changed at Home with a Heart
By Karen Brewer

Photograph by Karen Brewer, The Christian View magazine

Director Alex Richey at Home with a Heart's lighthouse, drawn by John Huff and painted by Robert Gallamore

Alex Richey went through the Christ-centered rehabilitation program at Home with a Heart in Liberty in March of 1997. “I got sober, and I got saved, and I haven’t been the same since,” he told The Christian View magazine. “When I came to Home with a Heart from Chicago, this place changed my life. It was because of the love that was here. Jesus Christ was shown to me through John Brock and all the others, all of the different preaches and teachers. They showed me a better way to live. They showed me how to live by the Bible.

“I was ruining my third marriage. I had already gone through two marriages, and I was ruining a third. My wife and I are still together today. She was leaving me when I got here. We had been together about eight years when I came here. She was the one who found out about the Home, up there in Illinois, 700 miles from here. God put it in her path. I came down here in March of ’97. We got back together after I got out of the program. We moved to South Carolina. I became really involved here. I just wanted to give back, to help others. My main objective, when I left here, was to be the husband and father I never was to any of my wives and children. Their lives had been totally disrupted because of my selfishness. And I was fixing to ruin a third marriage. We had two children. They were about six and seven when I came through here. I didn’t want to be a ‘deadbeat Dad’ anymore. My main objective was to be the father that I was supposed to be, and this Home showed me how to do that. And I wanted to be a part of this Home, to help somebody else.”

Richey spoke well of Brock, the late founder of Home with a Heart. “John was like a father I never had,” he said. “He was a good man. He loved the Lord, and he showed me a different way of living that I’d never seen.” When Brock passed away, in 2001, Richey took the reins as Director of Home with a Heart, and he has seen, through the years, change in the lives of other men who have come to Home with a Heart, and the impact that change has had on those men’s families.

“The best part is watching the families,” he said. “I’ve got a guy working here right now. He lives here on the grounds. His wife was through with him, and they’re making amends now. They’ve got two children together. That’s what makes it all worthwhile, when you see the families get put back together like that, children getting their daddies back. It makes all the hard work and all the hours worth it, when you see that, when you see a husband and wife with their kids starting a new life. You never know the impact you make on a child. Those kids have 70 plus years left in their lives. You don’t know what impact we’ve made on those children just by helping the daddy. They would have grown up in a broken home if they (the parents) didn’t get back together. That’s why I do it.”

Richey said that his children grew up at Home with a Heart, and they are now grown with children of their own. He and his wife enjoy having their grandchildren stay with them. Richey also has a dog, named Little Bit, he bought in 2017 as a puppy. “She’s about 10 months old now,” he said. “She’s Australian Shepherd, pure bred. She’s part of the ministry now. All of the staff and the men love her.

“I don’t know what the Lord’s got in store for me next,” he said. “We are in the ‘winter’ of our lives, but it’s fun, and we enjoy it. I just keep doing the next right thing and keep this place going. I’m 56 now, and some day I’ll probably have to look at retiring from here. When I came here, I was 35, and John, the one who started it, was in his 70’s. God knew then that John wasn’t going to be able to last long, so He brought somebody younger, me. I didn’t know it then, but He brought me to run with the vision that he (Brock) had and to take the Home to another level. I’ve seen this place grow four times its size since I’ve been here. So, somebody younger than me will come along one day, I guess, and take over and take it to the next level, so to speak. We start thinking about that when we start getting age on us.”

Inside the Home, Richey stood by the lighthouse drawn by John Huff and painted by Robert Gallamore. “I use it (the lighthouse) all the time,” he said. When each man comes to enter the program at Home with a Heart, Richey takes the man’s photograph by the lighthouse. “And then, when they finish, I make them stand in front of the lighthouse, because it’s the ‘lighthouse’ that set them free. I love lighthouses.

“Everything’s going good,” he said. “The Home’s still growing, staying busy. Twenty men (in the program) keep you ‘hopping’ around here. And I’ve got seven full-time staff members. Most of them live here on the grounds. Some live over at the half-way house. It stays busy around here, that’s for sure. It’s a seven-day-a-week operation. It keeps me 'hopping'.”

Home with a Heart has four thrift stores: one thrift store at Home with a Heart, located at 220 James Mattison Road in Liberty, and two thrift stores in Easley, located at 427 West Main Street and 249 Saco Lowell Road, and one thrift store in Piedmont, located at 603 Anderson Street. Call Home with a Heart at 864-843-3058 for items to be picked up.