Stories

Ken Lewis

Ken is a member of the Akimal O'Odham/Gila River Tribe from Komatke, Arizona. He worked on the reservation in the recreation/athletic field and also served as a Food Service Manager.

His parents, Aaron and Bernaleen Lewis, found their way to recovery from alcoholism and have maintained their sobriety for many years. However, their recovery came too late for Ken, he had already followed their path and beyond. His addictions went beyond alcohol. Soon meth and cocaine dominated his life. He lost his job, his dignity and the respect of his family.

Ken lived for the needle, all the while knowing that it was killing him. He was in such pain from his addictions; he sought help by attending the Native American Connections' (NAC) Intensive Out Patient substance abuse program, but soon after he relapsed and was later admitted to residential treatment at Indian Rehabilitation in May of 2003. It was there that Ken discovered the inner strength he needed to recover. The staff helped him develop the foundation on which he rebuilt his life without drugs and alcohol.

While he was at Indian Rehabilitation, Ken completed his required Community Service with the NAC Property maintenance department. They saw in Ken a great potential and when a couple of the employees ran into him a couple years later, they encouraged him to apply for a position at NAC.

Ken came, hat in hand, to apply for a position as Maintenance Technician for NAC in February 2007. He walked in with a spotty employment history and very little maintenance experience. But he presented a quiet respectfulness and a graciousness that was commendable. The NAC interviewers saw in him the strong, dedicated employee he would become, giving him the break he needed to take another step in rebuilding his life.

In 2009 Ken was promoted to Property and Case Manager at Native American Connections' Sunrise Circle Apartment Community. While in the position he assisted tenants with much needed case management services and focused on community outreach efforts that helped to improve the lives of individuals at Sunrise Circle. Most recently, Ken was promoted to Resident Services Coordinator where he conducts outreach on behalf of all of Native American Connections' affordable housing developments.

Ken has become an invaluable member of the NAC staff. He has been an avid student and has learned all the skills he might have lacked at the onset. He is an excellent representative of the organization to all of our tenants and clients. Recently passing his two year anniversary with NAC, Ken commented how grateful he remains for the opportunity to show that he is a reliable and dependable employee. Ken's gratefulness shines through with a strong work ethic and a thoughtful, caring manner with everyone he encounters. He has regained the self respect and the respect of others he lost to methamphetamine and cocaine in prior years.

The proud father of 11, Ken has become a shining example of hope and recovery to his family. Four years sober, he has also recovered his relationships with his children and is proud to have regained their respect as well. He is proud to point out that his son is in college. Several of his older daughters are working and independent. Another daughter is a freshman in High School and is taking college classes. He is actively supporting and involved in all of his children's lives.

Ken also makes it a point to visit Indian Rehabilitation regularly. He speaks to the men in treatment to give them hope that recovery is possible.

Ken's future is full of hope and promise.

©2009 Native American Connections, Inc., 4520 N. Central Avenue, Phoenix, AZ