For the first time in its history, Friends of Sinners has hired a development director.

On Monday, Jordan Wilson, a former Friends of Sinners client, will assume that new position. Previously, he managed public relations and fundraising for Isaiah House, a faith-based residential recovery center in Willsburg, Kentucky.

"I care about addiction recovery," Wilson said. "I have this fire in me, and I 100% believe in Friends of Sinners."

This is a strategic year for Friends of Sinners, said Joe Welsh, executive director. In September, the program will celebrate 10 years of providing addiction recovery services.

Earlier this year, Welsh said, he and the organization's board of directors engaged in a strategic planning session during which they discussed short- and long-term goals.

"From that, we identified that we needed help in marketing and fundraising," Welsh said.

The development director's position also will help create programs and minister to clients.

Welsh hoped someone familiar with Friends of Sinners would apply. Preferably, he wanted one of the program's former clients.

Little did he know Wilson had been praying for months about the possibility of someday working at Friends of Sinners.

"I had no idea about their board meeting," Wilson said. "I just felt it was time for me to call and see if there was a possibility."

Welsh was overjoyed. Wilson's call came just days after the board agreed to hire a development director.

"I felt like God provided that person," Welsh said. "It was an answer to prayer."

Welsh had admired Wilson's work at Isaiah House, which operates five centers and has nearly 160 clients. By comparison, Friends of Sinners has about 50 clients.

While at Isaiah House, Wilson coordinated several grand openings that several elected officials attended, including Gov. Matt Bevin and Attorney General Andy Beshear.

Wilson also used his talents for motivational speaking and took part in a documentary about opioids. He oversaw fundraisers, such as golf scrambles and online events.

"My team and I generated hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Isaiah House," he said.

Wilson talked candidly about the struggles he endured on his road to recovery.

He was a client of Friends of Sinners about four years ago, but he was single and "wasn't ready to give up my old ways."

After leaving Friends of Sinners, he was homeless for a few months. During that time, he became a man of faith.

Within a week, he entered the Isaiah House recovery program, which takes 11 months to complete. Wilson accepted a job at the Isaiah House as a landscaper and worked his way up to public relations. He stayed in public relations there more than two years, including nearly a year as public relations manager.

His main focus at Friends of Sinners will be creating new funding opportunities, which will provide more programs and services for clients.

In the past, development was one of Welsh's many duties.

"However, at the end of the day ... it was not naturally my gift. I knew I could lead better with someone else taking over those duties," he said.

Renee Beasley Jones, 270-228-2835, rbeasleyjones@messenger-inquirer.com.

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