Betty Ford to speak at center

May 31, 1992

Former first lady Betty Ford will be the keynote speaker today during dedication ceremonies for a new building at Father Martin's Ashley, an addiction treatment facility near Havre de Grace.

The new $6 million building, to be named Bantle Hall, features rooms for 20 patients, a dining hall, a medical facility and administrative offices.

Entertainment for the 1 p.m. event will be provided by Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers.

Father Martin's Ashley has received national recognition for its alcohol and drug dependency treatment programs. Forbes magazine ranked the facility among the top private addiction treatment centers in the nation.

Ashley has been in operation for about eight years. It was started by the Rev. Joseph C. Martin, a Catholic priest -- himself an alcoholic -- who has been sober for 32 years, and Lora Mae Abraham.

In May 1991, another former first lady, Nancy Reagan, came to Ashley to dedicate a treatment center, the Nancy Reagan Hall for Adolescents. It offers support for teens addicted to drugs or alcohol.

It was the first teen program at Ashley, which has traditionally focused on helping adults with alcohol or drug addictions.

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