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Steve Ford is guest speaker at Gateway Rehab anniversary celebration

| Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012, 8:54 p.m.
Dr. Abraham Twerski with James Rogal and Steve Ford during Hope Has a Home - Gateway Rehab Center at the Westin Convention Center on Wednesday, December 5, 2012. Mike Mancini | For the Tribune Review

“When I went to meetings at first, I was hanging on by my fingernails,” shared special guest speaker Steve Ford during the Hope Has a Home Gala at the Westin Convention Center.

Nineteen years of sobriety later, and the son of former President Gerald Ford and first lady Betty was there to usher in the 40th anniversary of Gateway Rehab on Wednesday.

A crowd of 300 including Jean andHenry Haller,Judi andRonald Owen, Jill and Alan Boarts, and Edward and Val Caswell filled out the ballroom as Ford talked candidly about life in the White House, how even his mom had a hard time finally admitting that her son had a problem with alcohol, and his 20-year career in the film and television biz.

Meanwhile, top brass were sequestered before the crowd came marching in, likening the passage of four decades to the blink of an eye. “Just like it was yesterday,” offered James Rogal (with Lori Cardille Rogal), as he shared a few memories with Gateway prez Dr. Ken Ramsey (with Pam), board chair Paul Sweeney (with JoAnn Ralston), and founder Dr.AbrahamTwerski.

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