Dave Now ‘Hangs 10’ In Life

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WELL DONE–Major Doug Williams congratulates Dave Hopper.


by Marlene Gerber – 

He looks like the quintessential surfer–sun-bleached hair, tan, trim and athletic. Plus, he just took two top prizes in a 10-event competitive surfing series in San Diego County. With a shelf full of trophies and two custom-made surfboards to complete the prize package, Dave Hopper is one happy guy.

“But life wasn’t always this sweet for Dave,” says Major Doug Williams, administrator at the San Diego Adult Rehabilitation Center. “It took a lot of work and some divine intervention,” he added. For years, Dave was mired in alcoholism and drug addiction. He always loved surfing, but the drinking and drugging kept him from pursuing competitive surfing, as well as excelling at most other activities.

He entered the ARC in November 1997 and began the slow recovery process. Graduating on Mother’s Day was a joyful occasion as his proud mom and his brother (who also found sobriety here) looked on. Dave became resident manager for the “Bridge House” and was employed at one of the Salvation Army stores before assuming his present position with the ARC-administered Municipal Drug Court testing program.

He’s pursued his athletic interests concurrently. Dr. Edward Lataille, director of rehabilitation, encouraged him, and was present throughout the 10 competitive meets, and at the awards ceremony in La Jolla. “I never could have done this without the help I got here,” Dave said. “Thanks, Salvation Army.”

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