Valley Hope Association will be celebrating 50 years during a two-day celebration Aug. 18 to 19.

Valley Hope is an addiction treatment center in Norton, with the celebration featuring a parade and balloon launch along with several guest speakers.

“Valley Hope started as a small treatment center on the plains of Kansas in 1967,” Valley Hope President and CEO Pat George said in a press release. “Today, we have 16 centers in seven states in the Midwest. We have helped more than 300,000 people overcome addiction.

“We mark our 50th anniversary to celebrate the lives that have been transformed for the better and to recognize that our work is far from over.”

George is a former Kansas secretary of commerce born and raised in Dodge City.

George went from state representative to a member of Gov. Sam Brownback’s cabinet until an even bigger calling crossed his desk.

“The CEO of Valley Hope was getting ready to retire and contacted me to ask if I would be interested in taking his position,” George said to the Dodge City Globe previously. “It was something I couldn’t say no to.

“Valley Hope has become one of the largest providers of drug and alcohol services in the country,” George said. “We have more than 700 employees and serve 1,800 per year.”

Valley Hope has both in-patient and out-patient treatment programs.

Noted in the press release was the guest speakers for the anniversary being former 2006 Miss USA Tara Conner, actor David Dastmalchian and Laurie Dhue.

When Conner was crowned Miss USA, she entered and completed treatment for alcohol and drug addiction and has celebrated 10 years of sobriety.

She since has become a television host, singer/songwriter, actress, model and recovery advocate.

Dastmalchian is from Overland Park and has been featured in such films as “The Dark Knight,” “Prisoners,” “Ant Man” and the “Belko Experiment” and TV shows “Gotham,” “ER” and “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.”

Dastmalchian himself is an alumnus of Valley Hope, overcoming a five-year heroin addiction which was the basis for his screenplay “Animals.”

Dhue is the founder of Laurie Dhue Media in Atlanta and is a former host on CNN, MSNBC and Fox News.

Since March 2007, Dhue has been in recovery and has traveled the country sharing her message of hope and help with audiences and works closely with the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the National Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependence.

“Those who are wanting to attend the Friday night banquet will need to RSVP,” George said. “All of the Saturday events are open with no RSVP necessary.”

For an up-to-date schedule, visit or email to to RSVP.