Isaiah House founders retire after 23 years of service; new CEO appointed

Published 3:09 pm Wednesday, March 29, 2023

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After more than two decades of dedicated service to those suffering from substance use disorder and alcohol use disorder, Mark and Tammy LaPalme have announced they will retire from leadership roles at Isaiah House.

The couple, who founded the faith-based nonprofit in 1999, were recognized by the Kentucky Senate on March 7 for their 23 years of providing hope to men and women suffering from the disease of addiction, with Senate resolution 117 brought to the floor by Sen. Amanda Mays Bledsoe.

While retiring from their leadership capacity, the LaPalmes will continue playing an active role as advocates and advisors to Isaiah House.

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“For the last 23 years and seven months, we have had the honor of leading each of you as the Holy Spirit has led us in regard to this ministry that has been a part of seeing tens of thousands come to Christ,” said Mark LaPalme in a statement to Isaiah House staff. “This change brings about a change in our roles with Isaiah House, but the calling has not disappeared, it’s just changed. We love this ministry very deeply and our new focus will be serving our new CEO and the board in whatever capacity is needed.”

Since 1999, Mark, who has served as CEO since the creation of Isaiah House, and Tammy have impacted tens of thousands of lives by treating addiction and mental health. The couple first opened their personal home in Danville to minister to the homeless, before opening the first Isaiah House to focus on substance use disorder treatment in Hustonville in 2001. In 2008, Isaiah House expanded to Willisburg, KY., after the ministry was donated the former Willisburg High School building.

This expansion allowed the LaPalmes to start a first-of-its-kind second-chance employment program, Reliance Works, in 2011, which provided people in recovery with job skills training and careers in construction and property management. This mission to provide employment opportunities manifested into Isaiah House being a trailblazer in providing education opportunities as well, partnering with Campbellsville University in 2017 to become one of the only treatment providers in the United States with the distinction of being a satellite campus of an accredited four-year college or university.

Today, thanks to the leadership of Mark and Tammy, Isaiah House now includes eight residential treatment centers across five counties in Central Kentucky and employees over 450 people. Along with residential treatment, the program the LaPalmes pioneered also offers outpatient treatment, medication-assisted treatment, harm reduction, and transitional living for the men and women who enter its care.

“Mark and Tammy LaPalme are Isaiah House,” said board of directors’ chairman Ronnie Ping. “They have poured their lives into this noble mission to save lives, restore families, and improve communities across our state and even beyond. While we are sad to see them step away from leadership, we know they will continue to be an advocate for those battling the disease of addiction and will be terrific assets to the organization in the role of founder.”

With Mark stepping down as CEO, Isaiah House’s board of directors have appointed Dr. Nick Wren to the role of CEO/President. Wren, a Danville native who joined Isaiah House as the Vice President of Strategic Initiatives in 2021, has played a key role in the organizations growth and expansion while also creating solutions to improve services to create the best possible outcomes for men and women in the program.

Wren is a longtime member of the Cornerstone Assembly of God in Danville and has known the LaPalmes since he was a young boy, watching the ministry grow to help thousands of people over the years. Prior to Isaiah House, Wren worked for Walmart pharmacy for nearly 11 years, the last four of which he served as pharmacy manager. He graduated from the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy in 2017.

“It’s an honor to take on this role and continue the important work that the LaPalmes started 23 years ago,” said Wren. “Mark and Tammy built an incredible organization that has made a real difference in so many lives and families. I’m looking forward to carrying on that mission and build on their legacy to ensure that Isaiah House remains a beacon of HOPE for years to come.”

Wren resides in his hometown of Danville with his wife and three children.

Isaiah House exists to provide comprehensive, evidence-based treatment for individuals with substance use disorder by instilling hope through healing, opportunity, purpose, education, and employment for lifelong success. Isaiah House is nationally accredited by Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) and licensed with the state of Kentucky as an Alcohol and Other Drug Entity (AODE), as well as a Behavioral Health Service Organization (BHSO) for our outpatient services. Isaiah House is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.