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Shaky Acres History: Story recounted by Lani Miller and the entire history is being reconstucted by Gary Hellyer.


Circa 1982 -- A young man who through his disease had landed in the Knud Hanson hospital on St. Thomas.

Women's Facility
The Orginal and still existing "Shaky Acres" Lindberg Bay.
After detoxing he was scheduled to enter the Treatment Center located in St. Croix. The suffering alcoholic and his family soon learned that the only Virgin Islands treatment center (on St.Croix) had temporally canceled any rehabilitation treatments, so that the facility could be temporally used to conduct training for their medical staff. The family of this man didn't know what else to do but take the man home to their house. Loni Miller, Scot Fagan and Ken Lindquist soon learned about all this and went to The Nisky Moravian Chu

Shaky Acres
Unity House was the "Odd Fellows Lodge" but was rebuilt for Shaky Acres.  Entrance door, now main entrance
rch to speak with Bishop Maynard who knew the man and his family as they were active members of that church. The Bishop gave these caring individuals directions to the affected family's house and the group sort of "kidnapped" him. They then took him to "Creque Mansion" where there was a group of non-drinking recovering alcoholics who where having a day picnic. They had a 12 Step meeting and the guy found some new friends who where staying sober. The picnic ended at the bewitching hour of around 5:30 and they took the man to another scheduled meeting and then home. They found him sober the next day and took him to another meeting and that day was a Monday. They then started to make some plans. They needed to see if they could maybe talk to Bishop Maynard about helping them put together the funds to rent a perfect location (right next door to Scot Fagan's house in Lindberg Bay). The house is pictured below and is still being leased by Shaky Acres.

Unity House
Unity House
Looking at kitchen door.  Downstairs is laundry & task area, top level houses 15 men.
Part II

By Monday night Scott and myself met at the unlit and unfurnished site of what was to become the future home of the unborn "dream child" Shaky Acres.  We spoke by candle light about the future of other people like our young man and the family members of the alcoholic in need of help here in St. Thomas. At the conclusion of this meeting a family social rehabilitation treatment center became a hope and a need.

Within a few days we had spoken to Bishop Maynard of the Moravian Church, Nancy O'Brian President of COAST, Pastor Hoffman of  the St. Thomas Dutch Reform Church and Valerie Wade.  Scott and myself found these individuals to respond positively to the idea.  Over a period of several months the small band of individuals began meeting frequently. We had decided that this ground floor two bedroom apartment could be our center.  At that time we had  no money in the coffer and no idea of where money would come from. One thing we had was faith, as stated by Bishop Maynard, "God will provide".   Many days  and weeks we clung to "God will provide".

We approached the owner of the building asking if we could rent this two bedroom facility with a promise to pay.  From various segments of the community came future donations.  We still had to raise the money to have the electricity connected.  So much of our work at the center depended on daylight and lamp oil. Within a few weeks we held  one of many to follow Saturday family Pot luck dinners and family sharing. This became a tradition for several years to follow. That first Saturday night we had no electricity but with the kind help and ingenuity of Chicque's, now deceased, he rigged up lighting for our first Saturday night family dinner meeting. The Family Dinner was well attended.

The name of "SHAKY ACRES" was adopted because in the beginning and months to follow we literally had no money and I mean no money. One of the first person's seeking  rehabilitation came to the doors of Shaky Acres, but he was turned away, because he had to have been free of alcoholic beverage for forty eight hours. So he  slept in an abandoned car near the building until he could qualify. This same man  helped us obtain our first means of cooking equipment,  "A Coal Pot". One night about seven, we three drove along the road towards the Charter House, for our man to find his cold pot he had stashed in the bushes near the water. After that one of the other newly recruited recovery persons, made fried Johnny cakes  using the cold pot, because we did not have a stove.  I recall, dropping my mother off many a morning at Shaky Acres to handle the sale of the Johnny Cakes and answer the phone, which was being loaned to us by a neighbor.  On one of those days a gentleman came to purchase a few Johnny Cakes and conversation came up about how the Johnny cakes were being prepared by using our infamous "Coal Pot",  by that afternoon, the phone rang, and  we were promised a stove. Volunteers came from various walks of life.  Several  of The Moravian church members were among the first volunteers who canvassed St. Thomas to get donations.

 More to come..........

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