THE ROAD TO RECOVERY – NW Catholic Magazine
Steve Rhoades passed through addiction, whorehouses and near-death experiences on his way to the Catholic Church. In this article, he tells about how and why he slid into the defeating lifestyle that almost cost him his life. He explains the great difference between being self-disciplined and converted. Read the full story in the November 2013 issue of Northwest Catholic Magazine: https://www.nwcatholic.org/features/nw-stories/cover-story-the-road-to-recovery
Finding Roads (Rhoades) out of the Darkness
By CHRIS FRANCIS
Bainbridge Island Review Staff Writer, MAY 15, 2013 11:53 A.M.
In 1973, at the age of 20, Bainbridge Island resident Steve Rhodes enlisted in the Marine Corps. And, by 1978, he was kicked out of the Marines thanks to alcohol abuse and left with nowhere to go. Today he could point out the alleys in Seattle where he once slept. He shares stories about his crippling substance addictions that kept him on the street. But in 1993, when he saw the white collar of a Lutheran minister and asked for help, he got started on his own bumpy road to recovery. Today, Rhodes lives on Bainbridge Island where he operates Rhodes to Recovery, which he describes as “an outreach program for street people, individuals with drug addictions, and those who have lost hope.”
The program began in October 2011 after Rhodes received a visit from his cousin who had come to see the new, sober life Rhodes had made for himself. “They heard about the whole train wreck,” Rhodes said, “But they had never been here.”
“[My cousin] told me, ‘Steve, you need to be doing this — giving back and helping the homeless because you’ve been saved. You’re one of them. They’ll listen to you,’” Rhoades said. Despite the drama of Rhodes’ past, Rhodes to Recovery is a simple program. In his free time, Rhodes makes trips to downtown Seattle stocked with supplies the homeless need — mostly food and clothes. He also brings along a thermos of coffee and a pair of folding aluminum chairs.
Rather than just giving out jackets and soup and a word of encouragement, Rhodes offers them a seat, a cup of coffee, and as much conversation he can spare. According to Rhodes, the best way to help the homeless, after food and clothing, is “treating them like a human being.”
Rhodes also organizes and participates in various fundraising events around the island. He receives materials and support from several Bainbridge Island businesses and organizations, including Saint Cecilia Catholic Parish, Island Fitness, Churchmouse Yarns and Teas, and the Compass Center. Rhodes is especially keen on the wool hats donated by Churchmouse’s charity knitters, which he gives to the Seattle homeless stuffed with a chocolate bar. “Steve has come to our group several times and told us … stories of how much the warm hats and scarves and gloves mean to those living on the street,” said Laura Alonzo, the Community Outreach Coordinator at Churchmouse Yarns & Teas. “These hats and scarves are knit by people who spend time knitting and thinking about the person who will be receiving the item. Not mass-produced, but lovingly produced for them.” “When we opened Island Fitness 10 years ago, we had the opportunity to meet Steve when he came in to work out,” recalled Michael Rosenthal, owner of Island Fitness. “We were immediately struck by his humility and his caring ‘Give back, pay it forward’ nature,” he said.
Rhodes is thankful for how far he’s come since his life on the streets, and he feels his cousin was right to say it gives him a special opportunity and responsibility to help others. “If I would have written down what my dream was [before starting Rhodes to Recovery], I would have short-changed myself,” Rhodes said. “All I have to do is show up. God will put a gentleman or lady in front of me.” “I can’t keep this unless I give it away,” Rhodes said.
Rhoades goes to lengths to give back to Housing Resources Board
By Connie Mears, Staff Writer
Bainbridge Island Review, July 01 2011
He did it. Steve Rhoades completed the 61-mile course “By Sea, By Land, ” around Bainbridge Island yesterday.
The paddle was rough,” Rhoades said after finishing the goal of circling the island on paddle board and then completing the Chilly Hilly route on bicycle. “It was just a long day.”
He embarked on the ambitious venture to bring awareness to Housing Resources Board’s mission of strengthening the community through affordable housing options.
He completed the paddle around the island in 6 hours, 55 minutes and cycled the Chilly Hilly route in 2 hours, 25 minutes. He said well-wishers stationed at the Treehouse Cafe and Island Fitness helped him make it to the end. “I knew it was over when I saw them,” he said.
From the Review, July 1, 2011:
When Steve Rhoades had trouble finding an affordable place on the island to live, he talked with the folks at Housing Resources Board to get possible leads. He applied for HRB’s HomeShare program that matches islanders who have room to spare with those seeking affordable rent options. Grateful for the affordable place it found for him adjacent to the Grand Forest, Rhoades looked for a way to give back. “I don’t have a lot of money,” he said. “But I do have time. I do have energy.” He will contribute those two assets July 5 with an outrageous 61-mile athletic feat, By Sea, By Land, to help raise awareness for HRB. “This is the only way to get anybody’s attention,” he said over lemonade at the Treehouse Cafe.
He won’t get much attention at 5 a.m. July 5 when he launches his paddle board off Fay Bainbridge Park’s beach. Most islanders will be asleep or wrestling with the snooze button instead of the elements. He might get the attention of commuters on the 6:20 or the 7:05 a.m. ferries as he crosses Eagle Harbor on his way to circle the 28-mile perimeter of the island. Folks can cheer him on between 9 and 9:30 a.m. at the Point White Dock. He hopes to arrive back at Fay Bainbridge Park around 1 p.m. Then, after taking a shower and grabbing a bite to eat, he will don his roadgear for the 33-mile bicycle ride along the Chilly Hilly route. He expects to finish the course by 5 p.m. All in a day’s work. His most visible appearance will be riding with HRB in the Fourth of July Parade.
A cycling and surfing coach, Rhoades has been training since January for the event, drawing on discipline honed in the Marine Corps. “It’s all a mental game now,” he said.
“Steve really symbolizes our mission,” said HRB’s Community Outreach and Development Director Wendy Johnson. “The character of our island is made by hardworking, caring, give-back people like Steve.” “He is a stakeholder and a major donor. Everybody has something to give, something of themselves to give to the community, whether that’s to HRB or KiDiMu or another organization. Whatever your passion is, give.” HRB is harnessing the spectacle of Rhoade’s passion to raise awareness for its mission to preserve diversity through affordable housing options. “Our values don’t have to be defined by how expensive our houses are, it can be driven by the different gifts of the community,” Johnson said.|
Timed with the By Sea, By Land event, HRB will try to get attention and funding through a raffle drawing July 5 for an array of prizes, including a helicopter ride, membership to Island Fitness, a North Face Denali jacket, bike fitting service, and a $200 gift certificate for Harley-Davidson gear. For every $10 donated by July 5, HRB will enter the donor to win one of the prizes.
For more information about HRB, visit www.housingresourcesboard.org.
12th Man Gives Chilly Cheers to Ferry
By: whendiej Subscribe Channel: Sports & Recreation Location: Eagle Harbor, Bainbridge Island Saturday, Jan 8 , 11 at 3:07 PM
Extreme sports enthusiast Steve Rhoades cheers on the Bainbridge ferry full of Seahawk fans heading for the playoff game on Saturday morning.Rhoades has paddled around Bainbridge Island several times. No easy feat with a circumference of 28 miles. Rhoades is training to circumnavigate the island again this summer, but with a twist. After paddling around the island, he is going to BIKE around the island. Also a bicycle enthusiast, Rhoades intends to bicycle a 33-mile course with 2675 of overall climbing.”If the Seahawks can make the playoffs — there’s nothing stopping me from this challenge.” Rhoades is making this challenge to bring attention to the work Housing Resources Board is doing as an advocate for affordable housing on Bainbridge Island. Youtube “Bike and Surf” video of Rhoades: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h7kT7tepf38.Extreme paddle boarder Steve Rhoades waits to cheer on Bainbridge Ferry going to the playoff game. http://www.komonews.com/younews/113138184.html corder=reverse
Bainbridge cyclist goes the extra mile for KiDiMu
By Connie Mears
Bainbridge Island Review Staff Writer
MAY 27, 2010 · 4:22 PM
Bainbridge Island’s Steve Rhoades hopes to inspire kids to get outside. Donations gathered on his 1,200 mile bike trip will go to KiDiMu. Bainbridge cyclist Steve Rhoades will embark on a 1,200-mile road trip at 10 a.m. June 5 from KiDiMu’s new home at the corner of State Route 305 and Winslow Way. Rhoades hopes the ride, a benefit for KiDiMu, will also raise awareness for cycling. “You see all the kids doing this,” he said, imitating computer game manuevers. “I’m trying to bring the Wow! factor with the surfboard,” he said outside the Treehouse Cafe where his bike-and-board sensation sat parked on the street. Wearing brightly colored cycling gear emblazoned with the KiDiMu logo, Rhoades will head toward the coast with surfboard in tow, winding his way south along Highway 101 to California, and then circling back on an inland route.
His rig will become home, sweet, home for the 90-day trek. A solar panel on the back will charge his camera batteries, cellphone and laptop. Camping gear tucked below the surfboard, along with a
harpoon for fishing, will keep him fairly self-sufficient. But he’s quick to credit the team that makes the ride possible. “I couldn’t have done this without Island Fitness and Island Chiropractic and Massage,” he said.
Rhoades, who worked as a bike messenger in Seattle for six years, still struggles from injuries that
have led to eight trips to Harborview Medical Center. It was Memorial Day 1996 when he was left for dead on the side of the road after being struck by a motorist. On the advice of health care providers, Rhoades has condensed his original vision of a cross-country trip, like the 3,250-mile benefit ride he did in 2000. No matter. For Rhoades, life is about the journey. “I’ve been given a second chance at life and I’m going with it,” he said of his almost 20-year triumph over drugs and alcohol. Rhoades hopes his example will inspire young people to embrace life as an adventure. “I see them on their bikes with their headphones on,” he said. “You can’t hear the hummingbirds. You can’t hear the car coming up behind you. It’s dangerous, and not only that, you’re missing the moment.” He’s enlisted Bainbridge High School students Jesse Rosenthal and Graham Baran Mickle to help document the journey via his Web site, http://www.stevegoestheextramile.com, which will publish photos, video and a blog about the ride. Island Fitness Center is selling KiDiMu jerseys, with all of the donations going directly to the museum, Rhoades said. Trip expenses have been covered by sponsors.
Contact Bainbridge Island Review Staff Writer Connie Mears at email@example.com or
Super impressive determination and motivation. Your presentation at St. Cecilia’s was wonderful. Your humor puts people at ease and makes it possible to hear such a difficult story. You made it! You are helping others make it! And you are doing it in a way that is healthy and active and fun! Keep on keepin’ on. Good luck in Hawaii. Bainbridge is always just a plane ride away.