RezHOPE holds Gadugi House ribbon cutting ceremony

by Mar 24, 2024NEWS ka-no-he-da0 comments

Husband and wife, and co-founders of RezHOPE, Kallup McCoy II and Katelynn Ledford-McCoy cut the blue ribbon, a symbol of recovery awareness, at the Gadugi House ribbon cutting ceremony on March 22. (BROOKLYN BROWN/One Feather photos)



One Feather Reporter


CHEROKEE, N.C. – RezHOPE held a ribbon cutting ceremony for the Gadugi House, a men’s transitional living home in Tsisqwohi (Birdtown), on the morning of Friday, March 22. RezHOPE is a Cherokee-based non-profit organization that supports people in recovery from substance use disorders.

The ceremony included an opening prayer from Ted Duncan, associate pastor at Bryson City First Baptist Church, and remarks from RezHOPE Executive Director Katelynn Ledford-McCoy, Principal Chief Michell Hicks, former Principal Chief Richard G. Sneed, RezHOPE Founder Kallup McCoy II, CEO of Cherokee Indian Hospital Authority Casey Cooper, and Earl Ammons.

Katelynn Ledford-McCoy, executive director of RezHOPE, reads an excerpt from Sherman Alexie’s “You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me” at the Gadugi House ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday, March 22.

Opening remarks began with a reading from Katelynn Ledford-McCoy, a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) and executive director of RezHOPE, who was instrumental in the establishment of the Gadugi House. Ledford-McCoy recited out of Sherman Alexie’s “You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me”, including a line that reads, “And maybe as I sing, maybe, maybe I can teach other Indians, the clan of the ashamed, to leave that clan and start anew.”

After Ledford-McCoy’s powerful recitation, Principal Chief Michell Hicks invited former Principal Chief Richard G. Sneed to speak, stating, “Before I say a few words, Chief, I want you to come up. We’re all part of how this tribe grows and the foundation that we’ve created.”

Sneed spoke directly to Kallup McCoy II and Katelynn Ledford-McCoy, husband and wife, who founded RezHOPE and formed the Gadugi House. “Kallup, Katelynn, for all these years, we’ve watched you guys grow. We’ve watched your journey of recovery from the beginning. We’ve seen you go through deep valleys and high mountain peaks, and this is really the culmination of years and years of the vision that God gave you,” Sneed said. “I think what we see today demonstrates that it takes a community. It takes all of us to have something like this come to fruition.”

Chief Hicks congratulated RezHOPE on the opening of the Gadugi House as an additional resource for the EBCI. “I’m really happy with the work you guys have done. I know it’s been hard. I know that you probably felt isolated at times, but again, you have a lot of support. We know that you’re going to be successful,” Chief Hicks said.

“We all have the Lord’s mercy and we have the Lord’s grace and things can change for the betterment of our people. We just have to believe, we have to be confident not only in ourselves, but in our community and in our tribes.”

McCoy II, member of the EBCI and founder of RezHOPE, reflected on the path to founding the Gadugi House. “I can’t believe that this day is finally here. The journey that led us to this point has been one filled with doubt and certainty, fear and courage, wrestling and acceptance. I honestly did not know if this dream would ever come to pass, but I want to give a shout out to all those who have believed in us and supported us throughout this whole process. We wouldn’t be here today without that unwavering support.”

Earl Ammons shares his story of recovery at the RezHOPE ribbon cutting ceremony for the Gadugi House on March 22. 

Casey Cooper, chief executive officer of the Cherokee Indian Hospital Authority, spoke to the importance of community and Tohi, the Cherokee value of peace, balance, and harmony, in the continued success of RezHOPE, the Gadugi House, and the EBCI. “The community has to be healthy. All the organisms within the community have to be healthy, and we have to have tohi in that community, in that ecosystem. In order for us to have tohi, we all have to be contributing to the community.  We’re going to be here for each other. I’m so proud of you guys, and I’m so proud that we have a grassroots initiative here that is being led by the community.”

With courageous vulnerability, Earl Ammons shared his story of recovery and faith. “I give God the glory and I know He is real. He brought my son back to life. He got me out of 20 something years of addiction. I just give all the glory to God because He is real, and He wants to save each and every person here.”

Ledford-McCoy explained the importance of the name of the recovery house, Gadugi, which is the Cherokee value of community. “We were just calling it the RezHOPE Men’s Transitional Home. And then one day, I was out at Kituwah running and it just hit me. I was like, ‘Why not the Gadugi House?’ The community has come together. Every single one of you guys have added something to this home, whether it was through a monetary donation, or maybe you picked up a paintbrush and you helped paint the sides of this house, or maybe it was simply praying over the home.”

“Gadugi is coming together, helping one another whenever no one else is there, no matter the circumstance, no matter the situation. It has taken every single one of our community members coming together to make this possible. I’m just so grateful and so humbled and thankful because so many helping hands have come together, and it’s going to continue to take that moving forward collectively.”

The ceremony ended with a prayer and the cutting of the deep blue ribbon, which is a symbol of recovery awareness.

RezHOPE is holding a fundraiser for the Gadugi House called the Buy A Brick Program. The bricks will be used for flower beds and signage. If you are interested in buying a customizable brick for the Gadugi House, email