Monday, 10 September 2018 16:39

Hotel providing jobs for former addicts Featured

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BREWER - A hotel in Brewer is helping former addicts get their lives back on track by providing them job opportunities.

It all started when a pair of managing partners saw their own son get caught in the grip of addiction.

"You're running a business, why would you possibly want to help these people," said Leeanne Hewey, managing partner at the Vacationland Inn in Brewer.

That was the thought of both her and her husband, Allan, when they first started. 

The original owners were known for making it a habit to help the less fortunate.

They did not see it at first.

"From the business perspective I didn't," said Leeanne.

That is, until the Hewey's found out their son struggled with addiction. 

"Things weren't going so great, I was going downhill," said Caleb Hewey, Leeanne and Allan's son. "I was addicted to opiates, drinking, whatever, you name it."

"I come to realize that I got to face life I can't hide from it," he added. 

Caleb then started a faith-based recovery program and his parents started him with a job at the inn. 

"We found that an addict that goes through counseling and takes ownership of their problem is a very good employee," said Allan. 

Caleb's own success at work and his recovery program helped his parents cross paths with Ashley Hartley.

In the past, Ashley had abused prescription drugs.

"And then it spiraled from there," she said, "so then I was buying them, doing whatever I can to just get through my day."

But her triumph over addiction led the Hewey's to believe she was ready for that next step in her life.

"I went to the graduation," said Leeanne, "heard her narrative and her story and where she had come from and I got up out of my seat, shook her hand, put my business card in her hand and I said, 'looks like the next level that you have is that you need a job.'"

Ashley is now the manager of housekeeping at the inn and has been sober for five-and-a-half years.

"It's great to finally be independent from all of that," said Ashley. "The pressures of addiction can just be overwhelming, and you do things that you know are wrong, but you can't stop."

Caleb is now the maintenance supervisor.

Not only does the hotel give him the ability to make better choices, it also gives them a chance to help other employees working there who have struggled with addiction.

"The fix is one-to-one mentoring, the fix is loving them through it, picking them up when they fall, the fix is just seeing them as people," said Leeanne.

Blake Lipton

Morning Anchor/Reporter
[email protected]

Blake Lipton joined the ABC 7 and Fox 22 news team in January of 2016 and is excited to start his career in television as a morning anchor at our station!

He is a recent graduate of the University o...