Jeremy Cottrell, a senior master technician, said he’s grateful each day for how his life has progressed. He started using drugs at age 11, progressing from pain pills to heroin, and picked up criminal charges over the years for stealing a handgun and trafficking controlled substances. He’s spent about two years behind bars.
Cottrell, 41, entered the Beacon House in 2016 and initially worked at a restaurant until Sherrill, whom he knew from the facility, helped him get a job at James Collins Ford, where he was trained as a technician and earns a good living.
Ford Motor Co. recently honored Cottrell and others who achieved senior master technician status with an all-expenses-paid trip to Huntington Beach, Calif. He went on the trip with his wife.
Cottrell said the dealership has allowed him to turn his life around.
“If I look at what my mind state was, and how my life was when I first came in the Beacon House, it was hopeless. It was the end of the road for me,” Cotrrell said. “And now it’s just amazing.”
Virginia Payne, the fixed operations director at James Collins Ford, said the dealership has succeeded by hiring staffers from the Beacon House who have decided “enough is enough” and that it’s time to change their lives. She said the store has a culture of holding workers accountable.
“There are good people out there that have, for whatever reason, had a struggle in life,” Payne said. “What I’ve learned over the last nine years, more than anything, is that [addiction] is a disease. It’s not something that they overcome and they’re cured. It’s something that they live with for the rest of their lives.”