Serenity Stories

The GateHouse Serenity Stories: Thomas & Judy McDermott

We often think of victims of substance use disorder as only those suffering directly from the disease. But victims’ families are victims, as well.

The GateHouse broke ground on its Serenity Gardens last fall – a beautiful, tree-lined garden space for quiet reflection – and created a place to bring serenity to its residences in recovery as well as the countless families who have lost loved ones to addiction.

There’s a Personal Story Behind Every Brick and Tree in the Serenity Gardens

The gardens were created thanks to the generous support of families, alumni of The GateHouse, and the community. Some people and families purchased bricks that are now inscribed and featured in the walkways and structures of the Gardens. Others purchased trees and other features within the garden to honor family members who struggled with substance abuse.

Dave Maser’s memorial in Marietta

Those who supported, and continue to support, the Serenity Gardens project have their own reasons for doing so.

For Thomas and Judy McDermott, it was to honor and remember their son, Dave, who they lost to addiction nearly four years ago.

Dave had a son with Beth Allen, who also struggled with substance use disorder. When she found her way to recovery in 2015, she began working for The Retreat and eventually worked her way up to Residential Program Supervisor at The GateHouse.

It was Beth who invited The McDermotts to The GateHouse in October 2019, where plans for Serenity Gardens were revealed.

“I was impressed by the purpose of the garden—helping individuals in recovery restore their spirit—and the beauty of the proposed plans,” Judy said.

She and her husband decided to purchase a tree for Serenity Gardens in their son’s name.

“The garden has a beautiful stone walkaway with stone walls on either side,” Judy said. “And the tree that we purchased for our son is standing in the center where the path goes around either side.”

The commemorative sign placed with the tree reads:

“Dave Maser

Beloved Father, Brother & Son

Your Spirit will live on forever in our hearts”

“We had our son cremated, so we don’t have a place to visit,” Judy said. “It’ll be very nice to sit in the garden and feel a closeness with my son. He’d be very happy with it.”

For parents like the McDermotts and residents currently working their way through recovery, Serenity Gardens is a space to not only reflect on the past but to help others heal.

“It’s excruciatingly painful to lose a son,” Judy said. “But you quickly realize that you’re not alone in this. So many other moms and dads have gone through or are going through the same thing, and certainly, anything that you can do to help them, you want to do.”

Please Join Us in Support of the Serenity Gardens Project at The GateHouse

Community members who’d like to support the Serenity Gardens project can donate a brick, plant a tree, sponsor a bench, or help fund the purchase of a pavilion.

Click to learn how you can Donate to Serenity Gardens.

When it’s time to begin living life in recovery, The GateHouse is here to support you or your loved one. We offer substance abuse treatment services for long-term addiction recovery, with locations throughout Lancaster County, PA.

The GateHouse creates a support system for each client to break the cycle of substance abuse and put them on a path towards recovery. Whether they need outpatient support, a transitional living environment, or residential treatment services, it’s here for them.

Let The GateHouse help you with your next step in recovery. Reach out to us today!

Scroll to top