New Sunrise facility a ‘landing place’ for women to recover

Jordan Gerard

One in 10 alcoholics or addicts die sober, but a home in Spring Grove offers an opportunity for women to have a “landing place” for recovery from alcoholism and addiction.

Since 1988, Sunrise Care Facility, Inc. (501c3 nonprofit) has helped both men and women recover from addiction, be it from alcohol or drugs. In addition to their facility for men, now they’ve got a new home specifically for women. 

They held an open house on May 17 to introduce the house into the community. The home was the former ABLE, Inc. house, and because of its size, it was a perfect fit for Sunrise’s plan.

“We’ve had women in the men’s location for a short time and had some success there,” director Greg Rostad said. 

That time period was from 2000 to 2003 and also sometime in the 1980s and ‘90s. Lately, the idea resurfaced, especially when Rostad stepped in as director seven years ago.

Sunrise Care Facility North–Women’s Facility, as it’s officially known, is the only facility for women southeast of Rochester. 

A few other centers do exist, but are not alike to Sunrise’s program or are far and few between.

Sunrise is a boarding lodge level two, which means in addition to three hot meals and a place to sleep at night, staff can help with insurance needs, medications, GED education, obtaining a driver’s license and more.

Last fall, the home was purchased and Sunrise looked for monetary and material donations for the home. 

Grants from several area foundations including the Otto Bremer Trust, Arlin C. Falck Foundation, Glen A. Kinneberg Trust and Lee and Louise Sundet helped pay off the mortgage.

Individuals Greg and Jacqui Wennes, Jim and Karen Gray, Roger Tollefsrud, Mike and Diane Schmidt, the Carstens, Greg and Lisa Rostad, Ozzie Quandahl and area churches also donated to the facility. Past residents of Sunrise also donated to the home.

Thanks to those generous monetary donations and material donations for household items, women are ready to live and recover back to a healthy life.

“It’s a landing place to get healthy. When you walk five miles into a forest, it is five miles back out,” he said. “A place like this keeps them out of the cycle.”

A cycle is going back into the same spaces where their addiction started or where it got worse. Rostad added the isolation of Spring Grove helps people avoid that cycle and helps with normalcy.

“The town has been a great supporter of Sunrise,” he added. “They’ve donated items to us for the house, except the TV and vacuum.”

Residents are referred to the facility from Houston County caseworkers and other counties in Minnesota. Rostad usually talks to the potential resident on the phone and in person to make sure they are a good fit.

“We want to make sure we don’t set them up for failure. We try to help them best we can,” he said. “Some people don’t want help. They want to stay in their disease ... [but] some need less structure, some need more.”

Women are able to care for themselves, such as cooking, washing clothes, enjoying activities like games, television and more. 

Residents can choose to stay as long as they’d like. Ideally, a year’s stay is best to recover back to a healthy life. Rostad said the average stay is six months.

“Some have been here for seven years, most are here for two plus years. Some stay for a day,” he said. “Drugs or alcohol pulls them back. It’s a disease.”

During their stay at Sunrise, men and women receive counseling, transportation to meetings or appointments and support from peers and staff. 

A women’s center in Hokah – Bluff Country Family Resources — is also available to help with counseling, coping skills and more. 

Transportation to Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous meetings in Mabel and Decorah is also provided.

Sunrise’s program is structured after the 12-step program, but residents are allowed to go at his or her own pace. 

“We can’t save them all, but if we can give them one month of clean and sober living, that’s one month they wouldn’t have otherwise,” Rostad said, relaying what Greg Wennes had told him when he first started working at Sunrise. 

He also thanked Greg and his wife, Jacqui, for their help in getting the women’s facility started and for “going above and beyond.”

What could be next for Sunrise? Rostad said he’d like to have a facility that would allow residents to occupy their time in a productive area, such as outsourced work that could be done at the facility.


So very proud of Greg for his devoted work and time helping to provide a healing atmosphere for those in need. God will bless you for this service.