Burning Tree held their annual “Alumni Reunion” on Saturday, October 19, 2013. The 11th annual reunion went off without a hitch, or none the staff will admit to. Family, friends, alumni, staff, and current clients gathered in Kaufman, Texas to revisit old memories, twist a few truths, and catch up on how life has been since leaving Burning Tree.
The reunion is a small piece of the vision that David Elliott, Burning Tree’s founder, had when he originally opened Burning Tree in 1999. “Today symbolizes their winning battle against addictions and freedom to move on to enjoy lives of excellence. The best part of the event, for me, is when the alumni share their experience, strength and hope; they carry an inspiring message of how the odds were stacked against them but they persevered to find the truth that set them free.”
Under a giant tent which proudly displayed the beautiful colors of the United States, there was laughter, tears, and mouths full of delicious BBQ. Alumni of Burning Tree came one by one to get their chip, and gave current clients and their families hope and encouragement. There were speakers, skits put together by clients, and music playing in between.
A cool October Texas breeze swept through the Ranch landscape, which provided for a comfortable Texas afternoon and evening.
“Burning Tree is a long-term, residential facility, so we spent a lot of time here and revealed our very souls,” reports Bethany Lutz, Burning Tree alum. “The alumni, including myself, get excited to reunite with peers and staff, with whom we’ve shared both laughter and tears. We get to celebrate the gift of recovery and be honored for the ongoing service work we do for Burning Tree clients and in our communities.”
Another alumnus said, “Wonderful to see all the faces new and old. Had a strong sense of being home again; Grounded and connected, which I haven’t felt that in a while.
The Kaufman skies were lit up by a fireworks show that rivals any other fireworks show in the country. Amazing colors shot through the night, powerful waves of sound pierced through the night announcing the presence of Burning Tree and the powerful work that is being done.
“What makes today so special is that all of the alumni and their families came to this place as hopeless chronic relapsers, meaning that experience has shown us that we cannot, could not, and will not stay sober,” boasts Eric Button, Burning Tree alum. “The fact that so many of us are coming back, and coming back sober, is a testament to this place and the hope it creates. It gives me a feeling like none other walking on this property every time.”