Recovery Connections

John Schwary is CEO of Transitional Living Communities, an 850-bed recovery program he founded in Mesa, Arizona January 9, 1992, when he had a year sober. He's in his 28th year of recovery.

In these posts, he views life mostly through the lenses of recovery. While the blog is factual, he often disguises events and people to protect anonymity.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Yesterday I heard some news that I never like. One of our key managers, a man who had been with us for over 7 1/2 years, resigned. This man had been a great contributor to our program. One of his major contributions was to act as a liaison with the Las Vegas Municipal Court system. He spent a great deal of time, at a very small salary, helping people to get into our program.

I still remember, as if it were yesterday, the first time I saw him. I was making one of my biweekly visits to our Las Vegas facility when I walked into our administrative offices. In the hallway outside the office door was a large black man, kneeling in front of a mentally ill street person who had several blisters on his feet. He was bathing the man's feet in a basin. When he finished he patted them dry with a towel. Then he put salve on them and gave him new socks that he had purchased himself.

"Who is this guy, Jesus?," I asked the on-duty manager.

"No," he replied, "he's just a new resident who likes to help others."

And so it was for over seven years. Greg spent time helping other people. He was generous and most of the time gave away his small salary to help clients - and their families. If he heard that a client's family was struggling, he would go to the market and buy them food. He is one of the most generous and helpful people I know.

It was difficult for him to tell me he was thinking about taking a new job. He told me it offered a salary of over $800 a week, with the potential of $1100 a week. It also came with an apartment and medical benefits

My initial reaction was selfish and I told him so. I said it was in TLC's interests that he didn't leave. But I told him, that if anyone else were asking me about this opportunity - and worked for another company - I would advise them to take the new position. And that's what I did. I told him he needed to move on, that there was no way he could make that kind of money working for us. I told him that people who had been with us for over 15 years didn't make that kind of money nor have those kind of benefits. He thanked me with tears in his eyes.

Godspeed Gregg. Your loyalty, and your love for others, serves you well. We wish you continued success...