Nestled in the rolling hills of south-central Kentucky sits our 115-acre little piece of land. Kentucky was formed as the 15th state when it separated from our nearby neighbor, Virginia. It became known as the “Bluegrass State” because of the specific species of grass known to grow in the state. When grown to its natural height, Bluegrass will sprout blue flowers, giving it the hued name. While not native to Kentucky, it was likely brought in by European settlers who then nicknamed the region.
Kentucky has a rich heritage of industry. Those who call Kentucky home are proud, hard-working folks who love the area. Natural limestone-filtered water flows throughout Kentucky waterways, and has made it home to thriving industry.
When most think of Kentucky, they think of horses, and appropriately so. Lexington, Kentucky is considered the Horse Capital of the World, with over 400 horse farms. The Kentucky Derby is known as one of the most premier horse races in the world. As settlers made their way through early Kentucky, they found that wonderful limestone filtered water made for strong horses. As the racing industry was amping up on the East Coast, Kentuckians began raising thoroughbreds and hosting private races. The races eventually grew in size, and those strong Kentucky horses helped seal the state as supreme in horse racing.
Home to the Bourbon Trail, Kentucky is known also as the Bourbon Capital of the World. When settlers were not raising thoroughbreds, they were distilling whisky and bourbon, again, because of the limestone filtered water natural to the state. It provided a unique sweet taste and ridded any hard iron. The weather also proved to be most helpful in creating a unique product. Hundreds of years of war, tax levies, and prohibition helped launch the popularity of Bourbon, solidifying Kentucky also as the king the trade.
Other industries also were rooted in the state’s history. Ask any rural teenager how they spent their summers and many will tell you in the tobacco fields. Driving along country roads will paint stories of open barns that once hung the tobacco to dry. While some are still in use, many farms were put out of business when the industry came under fire in the 1980s and 1990s.
Eastern Kentucky is home to our Nation’s coal industry, steeped in centuries of mining. Another industry that came under attack, the “clean fuel” movement has taken its toll on that part of the state where families have worked in the coal mines for generations. Without them, many areas were left desolate, and the economy hit hard. The fight for coal production still battles on.
Kentucky has been built by the working hands of blue collar families. The small south-central town of Bowling Green is no different. Found along the I-65 corridor and sitting only twenty miles from the Kentucky-Tennessee border, it is home to Western Kentucky University and the General Motors Corvette Plant and Museum. Nearby, expansive cave systems like Mammoth Cave, the world’s longest known cave, are abundant.
Bowling Green is also home to The Bridge to Recovery.
On the county line between Edmonson and Warren, The Bridge to Recovery property hugs Little Beaverdam Creek down the middle surrounded by hills, caves, and lush meadows throughout. Seasonal waterfalls can be found nearby, and local wildlife includes deer, turkey, and much more.
When co-founders Paul & Carol Cannon were seeking land to build what would become The Bridge to Recovery program, they visited properties in Michigan and New Jersey, even beginning the design process in the latter. But it would be the acreage in rural Kentucky that they would eventually call home, which had a plentiful water source, room to grow, and a safe space for those needing to do deep, emotional healing work.
The property originally hosted only one active structure – a Civil-War era log cabin sitting approximately 100 yards from the nearby creek. This building still stands today and is named in honor of our founders, called the “Cannon Cabin.” During the early-days of The Bridge to Recovery, this cabin housed the program in entirety, including providing a residence for program attendees and our staff.
As the years progressed, more buildings were built, the program expanded from a 14-day workshop to an open-ended intensive. Other programs grew from our little slice of land. We briefly expanded our services to the West Coast which allowed us to spread our mission. Additionally, we added services to include those geared toward professionals in the mental and behavioral health industries that now includes approximately 6 separate programs a year.
Just a few years ago several of our staff members represented The Bridge to Recovery in the state capitol to advocate for nonprofit legislation. Our talented staff members have presented on a broad range of topics to programs across the country, at conferences and symposiums, and to distinguished panels. The Bridge to Recovery has truly become a program of excellence.
Fifty years in Bowling Green, Kentucky has been good us. We are proud to be Kentuckians.
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The Bridge to Recovery hires Butch Glover as the new Executive Director
“ Honestly the Bridge taught me something I already knew but had to remember. I am so damn special, valid, and important. Everyone in my life saw it, but me. The Bridge just showed me how to look in the mirror to see for myself. ”
- Jewel, Alumnus