NORTON, Kan.—Valley Hope launched the next chapter of its existence over the past weekend by remembering its first 50 years with a celebration, special guests and the start of a new comprehensive fundraising campaign.

The addiction treatment organization started as a small center on the plains of northwest Kansas in 1967. Fifty years later, Valley Hope has grown to include 16 facilities in seven states. The organization has helped more than 300,000 people overcome addiction.

“Valley Hope marks our 50th anniversary to celebrate the lives who have been transformed for the better and to recognize that our work is far from over,” said Valley Hope President and CEO Pat George. “We will continue to pursue our mission of helping those suffering from substance use disorders with love and compassion.”

The celebration included appearances by notable special guests Miss USA 2006 Tara Conner and national cable news anchor Laurie Dhue. Conner recently celebrated 10 years of sobriety. She is a television host, singer/songwriter, actress, model and recovery advocate. Dhue has anchored on CNN, Fox News and MSNBC. She has been in recovery since 2007. She is the founder of Laurie Dhue Media in Atlanta.

In addition, film, television and stage actor David Dastmalchian, who was raised in Overland Park, Kan., and is a Valley Hope alumnus, appeared by video at the celebration.

“I credit Valley Hope for saving my life,” Dastmalchian said. “The care I received there enabled me to overcome my heroin addiction and regain my purpose and happiness. I’m grateful for the compassion Valley Hope showed me.”

Valley Hope officials announced its first ever multi-million-dollar comprehensive campaign called “Building Hope” to raise $15 million in five years. Ten million dollars will be used for capital improvements for facilities. The remaining $5 million will be used for treatment programs and to help patients on a case-by-case basis pay for treatment and services that may not be covered by insurance or other means.

The festivities also included the dedication of the new courtyard and other renovations at Valley Hope of Norton. The renovations cost approximately $1 million and were started in the fall 2016. The work featured the removal of a parking lot and creating a serene courtyard of sidewalks and lighting, as well as the renovation of a gazebo and installation of a fountain and recreational equipment. In addition to the newly renovated courtyard, a new parking lot and entrance for the facility were constructed.

Betty Nothnagel of McCook, Neb., received the Golden Heart Award, which is an annual recognition given to an individual or organization that shows exceptional support for Valley Hope’s mission. Nothnagel has been a longtime supporter, referral source, donor and volunteer for Valley Hope. She currently serves as the local Hope Builder Board chairman. The Hope Builder boards provide each facility in the Valley Hope system with a dedicated group of volunteers.

Several Kansas federal, state and local officials participated in the celebration, including Kansas Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer; Insurance Commissioner Ken Selzer; First District U.S. Rep. Roger Marshall; Interim Commerce Secretary Nick Jordan, Health and Environment Secretary Susan Mosier; and Aging and Disabilities Services Secretary Timothy Keck.

“I am thankful that we have an organization like Valley Hope in the state that has helped many Kansans overcome their addictions,” said Colyer, a medical doctor. “Valley Hope serves an important and critical purpose in our ongoing efforts to solve the addiction crisis in Kansas and the nation.”