About
Semper Liberi

Diverse members of the community, many who are in recovery themselves, decided to form a non-profit to provide transitional resources to those in early recovery.

Our History

While so many individuals leaving treatment clean and sober is very beneficial for those members and the community, many of them return to the same circumstances they came from; unemployed, poor or no housing, and no transportation. Many referrals to the treatment center would be through the jails and judicial system, completing treatment with no employment, no housing and no drivers license or means to get to/from work. Sobriety can only get them so far in re-integrating back into the community.

Semper Li grew out of the recognition that those in early recovery in rural areas like West Virginia needed three additional resources to succeed: recovery supportive housing, transportation, and vocational services.

WV Mountains

Since forming in 2018, Semper Liberi has acquired grants for all three areas of service. It has hired a vocational re-entry specialist to assist with employment, purchased and opened the Ashley House for women, and provided transportation to its clients to acquire necessary documentation such as a social security card, ID card, and attend interviews.

With so many graduates coming out of the MBH treatment facility, more entry level housing was needed, additional vocational services were required, and more transportation needed. In 2020, Semper Li opened the Ashley House. This home provides six women with a recovery residence with supportive services from recovery peer who manages and oversees the house.

The Ashley House has been a tremendous success, providing women with a stable launching pad from which they could gain employment and stability, and also provided employers with stable, reliable, and competent employees. The success of the Ashley House and the demands for more like it led the Board of Directors to develop the Recovery Village concept.

The Village idea is to provide a neighborhood of residences for people in early recovery that could also include a fellowship hall and training center for technical schools as well as provide a centralized place for employers to provide transportation to/from their places of employment.

Meet our board

Semper Liberi's Board of Directors are volunteers who provide a broad representation of key community agencies. Members represent WVU Medicine, Mountaineer Behavioral Health, the Department of Veteran's Affairs, the Mayor of Martinsburg, attorneys from the largest practice in WV, insurance agents from one of the largest firms, the Sheriff of Berkeley County, Hope Church Pastor and the marketing firm of Kisner Communications. Several of the Board members are in recovery themselves and have a first-hand knowledge of the challenges in early recovery.

Neil McLaughlin

Neil McLaughlin

President

Neil McLaughlin began serving in the role of Vice President of Operations at WVU Medicine -Jefferson Medical Center on November 2, 2015. He has served in healthcare leadership roles over the past 30 years in WV, NC and PA. For the 5 years immediately prior to his current position, Neil was concurrently president of two WV hospitals. An Eastern Panhandle native, Neil holds master's degrees in business administration (WVU) and adult education (Penn State) and a bachelor's degree in nursing from Alderson-Broaddus College. Early in his career, Neil was very active in pre-hospital and emergency care and for fourteen years he was engaged at the national level in the organ and tissue procurement and transplantation field. He presently serves on the boards of several area civic and public organizations and is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives.

Helen Hartiens

Helen Hartiens

Secretary

Helen Hartiens is the secretary for the Semper Liberi Advisory Board. Since 2006, she has worked as a teacher for Berkeley County Schools. In 2020, she completed her Master's Degree in Special Education from West Virginia University. As a teacher she sees firsthand, the impact of the opioid crisis on the children of our community. Married for 33 years to Jonathan, they have three grown children. Helen is an active member of Independent Bible Church in Martinsburg. Together, Helen and Jonathan are driven by the mission to point people to a life of freedom and hope which will have a generational impact.

Cara Henry

Cara Henry

Treasurer

Cara is the treasurer of the Semper Liberi advisory board. She holds and accounting degree from George Mason University. She has worked as an internal auditor for the Department of Veteran Affairs for 13 years. Prior to working for the VA she worked 2 years in public accounting. In her free time, Cara stays busy traveling with her family, keeping an active fitness lifestyle, and keeping up with her kids sports schedule.

Jonathan Hartiens

Jonathan Hartiens, Ph. D.

Board Member

Dr. Jonathan Hartiens is a Clinical Psychologist specializing in individual, couples and family therapy. He fully operates Mountaineer Behavioral Health in Martinsburg, WV. MBH currently provides outpatient treatment. In 2018, Dr. Hartiens was awarded the Ryan Brown Grant for $3 million which has been used to fund Mountaineer Recovery Center. The recovery center will expand services to provide residential treatment as well as outpatient treatment. He has over 30 years experience and developed expertise in the treatment of addictions. In addition to being a prominent therapist, he is frequently invited to speak at national conferences and general audiences on addiction treatment.

Kevin Knowles

Kevin Knowles

Board Member

Kevin is the Executive Officer at Eastern Panhandle Homebuilders Association & Business Development Director at Brookdale Recovery, Scotrun, Pa. He is the Mayor for the City of Martinsburg and served as Ward 2 Councilman for 9 years. He is the former Business Development Chief at Mountaineer Recovery Center and Recovery Services Coordinator for Berkeley County, WV. Kevin serves as President of the West Virginia Alliance of Recovery Residences and President of the West Virginia Association of Recovery Centers. He is the 2019 US Attorneys Award Recipient for work done in the Opioid Crisis, along with numerous other recognitions. He's extremely active in the community has served on many boards of non-profit organizations. He's a member Rotary of Martinsburg and board member of the Economic Development Authority. Through his own personal recovery he has gotten involved in organization's like Semper Liberi because organizations were there when he needed help 25 years ago. He knows first hand that people do recover!

Nathan Harmon

Nathan Harmon

Board Member

Nathan was elected Sheriff of Berkeley County in 2021. He is a veteran (US Marines) and worked as a private security contractor in Iraq on the Ambassador's Protection Detail. He has 12+ years of experience in Law Enforcement during which time he was named 2001 WVSP Trooper of the Year while with the WVSP. He also worked as a municipal officer at Morgantown PD and was the Chief of Police in the Town of Rivesville. Sheriff Harmon has traveled across the nation as an Instructor for the government and Summit Point Training Center, WV. Even as Sheriff he still makes time to teach as a certified Instructor; specializing in firearms, tactics, EVOC driving, Active Shooter, situational awareness and other skills to both the LE and civilian community. Nathan Harmon is a man of faith, a loving husband and father of six.

Mary Beth Blair

Mary Beth Blair

Board Member

Mary Beth is the owner of Kisner Communications, a full-service advertising, graphic design, and marketing firm serving a broad range of clientele for over three decades across West Virginia from healthcare and banking, to tourism, non-profit and small business industries. Born and raised in Berkeley County, Mary Beth has a passion for serving her community and is actively involved with many organizations, donating much of her professional and personal time to help market their messages. Currently, she serves on the boards of the Mountain State Apple Harvest Festival and the Martinsburg Berkeley County Chamber of Commerce. Mary Beth and her husband Rob are Elders and founding members of Airborne Church, where she also serves as the Community Liaison. They reside in Martinsburg and have children; Robby, Brady and Lexy, a daughter-n-law Esther and two grandchildren William and Hazel.

Chris Jones

Chris Jones

Board Member

Chris has spent the last 22 Years at Hope Community Church. Aside from pastoring, Chris and his wife Beth are small business owners, employing 17 people in our local communities. Equipping people to accomplish their calling shows up in every area of Chris' life, from Pastoring a local church, to running a business, and even global mission work. In his time off you'll find him building or fixing just about anything. Chris and Beth have 3 children, Madelynne, Emma, her husband Trip, and Carter.

Mike Caryl

Mike Caryl

Board Member

Mike is currently of-counsel with the Bowles Rice LLP law firm at its Martinsburg, WV office. He primarily practices in the areas of tax planning and tax controversy work at all levels — federal, state and local. He graduated from WVU in 1968 with a degree in Business Administration and, then, after serving in the US Army, graduated with a Juris Doctor degree from Yale Law School in 1974, and, after passing the WV Bar Exam later that year, has practiced law ever since. During that time, he also served as West Virginia State Tax Commissioner from 1985 to 1988 and was president of the 12-state Southeastern Association of Tax Administrators, 1987-1988.

Stew Borger

Stew Borger

Board Member

Stewart M. Borger, AAI, is president of Smith-Nadenbousch Insurance, Inc. an independent insurance agency that has two locations in the Eastern Panhandle. He has been involved in the insurance industry on the local, state and national level for over 50 years. Stew has served on the board of directors of numerous community non-profits and was a charter board member and president of the Eastern West Virginia Community Foundation. He serves as the vice-chairman and was one of four men who founded the Eastern Panhandle Recovery Foundation whose mission is to provide a safe, drug free environment for 12 step meetings for individuals in recovery. This foundation currently operates a local "Clubhouse" in Martinsburg where over 20 meetings are held on weekly basis. Stew and his wife Candy have two daughters and four grandchildren.

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