How we started
Bill Cadle, a traveling salesman from Pennsylvania, became a skid-row alcoholic who nearly died from alcohol poisoning. He ultimately obtained sobriety through an Alcoholics Anonymous Program in Tampa, Florida. Yet, sobriety did not fill the emptiness in his heart or take away the on-going temptation to drink. He began attending church, and one day decided to visit the pastor to discuss membership. The pastor asked Bill, “Do you know the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior?” Bill responded, “I’m just as good as anybody you have in your church now. I don’t drink or curse anymore…”
The pastor challenged his thinking, telling him it wasn’t a matter of being good; it was a matter of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. The pastor then led him through the plan of salvation in the Bible. The Spirit of God filled him, and Bill fell to his knees and surrendered his life completely to the will of God. When he stood back up, the desire to ever drink again was gone. On October 11, 1950, Bill Cadle had discovered the cure for alcoholism – Jesus Christ. Bill had a new testimony, “I am a redeemed alcoholic.” Bill had already been actively recovering alcoholics from the homeless street life, helping them achieve sobriety. But now he had a ministry; he had the answer that would deliver them from the inner-brokenness that caused them to drink…..
God brought a devout Christian woman into Bill’s life, one who would help to mold him in his faith. After two years of courtship, Bill and Eva were married on Christmas Eve, 1952. Bill was ordained by the Presbyterian Church. Their ministry to alcoholic men ultimately led them to Hebron Colony in Boone, North Carolina, where Bill served on staff for nearly a year before returning to Florida to resume his ministry there. Bill and Eva were urged by friends from Hebron Fellowship Group to move their ministry to Atlanta. They formed a new group, Christian Victory Fellowship, then merged with a third group known as the Helping Hand Society founded by Judge James E. Webb. Many of the men associated with the Helping Hand Society slept on cots set up in rooms at the Wesley Memorial Meth- odist Church, whose pastor was Rev. Allen A. Phillips.
Rev. Bill Cadle, Rev. Allen Phillips, Judge James Webb, Arthur Easterling, and B. M. Cain formed the nucleus which founded the Victory Home. On September 8, 1958, Bill and Rev. Phillips discovered the large three-story house two miles south of Tallulah Falls off U.S. Highway 441. The house was rundown with broken windows; it had been vacant eight years, owned by an elderly woman by the name of Bradbury. Terms of purchase were negotiated with Mrs. Bradbury’s daughter and son-in-law. A contract was drawn up to buy the house and eight acres of land for $8,000. The founders had no money, but agreed to pay $1000 down at closing and $1000 per year thereafter until paid for. They had difficulty raising the down-payment and had to reschedule the closing several times. Finally, the Bradbury family simply told them to move in and get on with their ministry.
On Tuesday, January 5, 1959, Bill and Eva, and two men who had been released from jail by Judge Webb, moved into the house. It was extremely cold, with no heat in the house. They stuffed cardboard into the windows to keep out the cold wind. All the bedding, rugs, draperies, and coats were piled on the beds to keep them warm. They went to bed with everything on but their shoes. They had a cold welcome, but were home at last – the beginning of Victory Home – Helping Hand.
Over the course of time the U.S. Forestry Service and the Department of Natural Resources donated additional land to Victory Home, such that its campus now comprises nearly thirty-seven beautiful acres nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Supported by over forty Christian churches and private donations, Victory Home is still offering the cure for addiction – Jesus Christ. More than ten thousand men have spent time in residence at Victory Home. The Holy Spirit of God has offered them freedom from their addiction and restoration of marriages and family relationships. Praise be to God for the generosity of His people who serve and support Victory Home.
Historical information for this article was gleaned from the book entitled “The Alcoholic’s Hope – A Miracle,” written in 1974 by Lewis W. Gibson. This book was loaned to Victory Home by Mrs. Myrtle C. Phillips, wife of the late Rev. Allen A. Phillips. Thank you, Mrs. Phillips, for making this information available, and for the big part that you and your husband played in the founding of Victory Home.