“Pioneer has employed me through the years and has continued to support me through my struggles. They believe in giving chances without judging you for your past. That kind of support has been a major factor in my success and stability,” shared Lana.
Today, Lana is our kitchen manager at Pioneer Food Services in Tacoma and manages the on-site cooking staff for Harrison House, a senior housing facility in Kent. She oversees the day-to-day operations in the Tacoma kitchen with state-of-the-art equipment for preparing, cooking and fast-chilling more than 1,000 meals per day that are delivered to our clients and customers seven days a week. In Lana’s role, she also manages inventory control, prepares the monthly meal plan with a nutritionist, and manages the cooks, staff, labor budget, food orders and handles customer billing.
This is just part of Lana’s story, you can read the whole thing here: https://pioneerhumanservices.org/about/success-stories/importance-emplo…
Relapse and Learning to Give Back
After prison, I ended up being sent to Pioneer’s work release again and participated in the Roadmap to Success job-readiness training program. Through the employment program I heard about Pioneer’s Food Services division and an open position for a cook. I interviewed with Chris Murphy, director of Food Services for the job and he ended up offering me the position. Sadly, I turned it down as I accepted a job with another restaurant. However, shortly after I was hired a young employee found out about my criminal record and told all the young staff who taunted and teased me about it at work. My privacy had been breached and I did not need the additional shame, so I immediately called Chris for help.
It was a lucky break, as Chris had an opening for a food delivery driver. He understood my situation and wanted to give me a chance. I took the driver job and after two years, I moved into the cook position. When I got into another bad relationship and started to falter, Chris helped me get into Pioneer’s clean and sober Tacoma Housing program to provide me with a safe housing situation that had structure. Chris believed in me and after some time I was promoted to the kitchen manager position in the new Tacoma kitchen where I work today. Chris has always been my mental cheerleader. Now it is my turn to give back and mentor trainees that are struggling with their past. It’s a part of my job that I take very seriously.
Chris Murphy stated, “Lana is a mentor and has had such a positive impact on so many people’s lives. Her commitment to sobriety and living her best life shines as an example for everyone that she works with and crosses paths with in the community.”
Reunited With Daughters
After years of being separated from my children because of drugs and being incarcerated, we have reunited and started the healing process. My oldest daughter lives with me now and is going to college. My youngest daughter, who was adopted, had moved with her new family to New Mexico but they moved back to the area a few years ago. I was able to connect with her, meet her adoptive mother and we all spent Christmas together!
Pioneer gave me a second chance and the support that helped me to build up my self-confidence and self-worth. I am proud to state that I have been clean and sober for over three and a half years and I am accountable for my actions. As I work on my recovery journey, attend my support group meetings weekly, and build my career, I am so grateful to know that Pioneer has my back!