CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – Dana Petroff is the Executive Director of Rhea of Hope. It’s an agency to help women become more self-sufficient after recovering from drugs and alcohol. It also helps people reconnect with their families.

“It is their confidence. It’s the smile on their face. It is the ‘I can do this,’ and it is so wonderful to see and hear the gratitude that they have that people have reached out and helped them,” Petroff said.

Dana has been working in this field for almost 30 years which is truly remarkable. She started working for an agency that helped foster care children transition to independent living for 15 years in southern West Virginia. Then she went on to be the Director of Addiction Services at another agency for 16 years. 

“I was director of the largest mental health center substance abuse program so that covered residential, men, women, outpatient, medication assisted treatment,” Petroff said.

She’s been working at Rhea of Hope since October 2021.

“I have been very passionate about this for years. Obviously working in this field for as long as I have, and it has just been it’s been a blessing for me,” Petroff said.  

One of the things Dana loves to do is look at a wall filled with more than 250 that Rhea of Hope people has helped, and now some of those graduates have started working with the program to help others.

“I see Dana on a daily basis. I met her back in October. She came in with a very kind and understanding heart. She promoted a team leadership where we were all united,” Tiffany Lipscomb, Case Manager at Rhea of Hope said.

Dana’s help changed Tiffany’s life.

“When I got here and was going through the program, I didn’t feel like I had a purpose,” Lipscomb said.

If you need another reason as to why Dana is so remarkable, she also worked with the Lead program which helps divert drug users from incarceration which went statewide. She testified on behalf of the program and got the U.S. senate to allocate $2.5 million dollars to the program.

“The passion comes because it effects everyone. I am not in recovery. I’m not a recovering addict but there isn’t a single person that I know of that says addiction hasn’t touched their life in some way or another.”

She earned her bachelor’s degree in social work, and her master’s degree in counseling and rehabilitation from Marshall University. She is a clinically certified criminal justice specialist, certified clinical sex offender treatment specialist and a master addiction counselor certification through the National Association of Forensic Counselor’s board.

Even with all these remarkable accomplishments, dana says she was still shocked to be nominated. “When I got the call, I was just really amazed. the gentlemen that recognized me was someone I haven’t had contact in years, and we had worked together,” Petroff said.

Editor’s Note: Petroff no longer employed at Rhea of Hope.