LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — For men and women coming out of recovery programs or even prison, finding a job is never easy.
Now, imagine trying to snag employment in the current economic climate caused by the coronavirus. That is the reality for people all over, including here in Kentucky, but now there is some hope being offered from an unexpected place.
Dean Bartholow has been in the auto mechanic business for nearly four decades, but his true passion is helping people.
"If you see a man walking down the street without a smile, give him yours," Bartholow recited.
He said he has always yearned to give back. In the past, Bartholow has worked with homeless veterans and made a practice of hiring recovering addicts, but he said he never felt like he was making a long-term impact.
"I was always putting a band-aid on everything and not doing a full program," Bartholow said.
But now, all of that has changed.
"I can't even explain. This flips me out how fast things are moving," Bartholow said.
Bartholow has taken his trade and turned it into Dean's Auto Care and Recovery which is a full two-year commitment for recovering addicts who have finished a treatment program. He's getting these people jobs right now, even in the midst of a pandemic.
"The two year program we have now is we train them, we house them, we keep up with them, we get them to all their meetings, and it gives me a chance to be with them 24/7 so we can make sure that they recover. At the end of the program we can guarantee house financing, " Bartholow explained.
Shameen Carter, a recovered addict himself, said this is the type of opportunity he did not have when he was trying to get back on his feet. He said now, to be able to help others, train them in a trade and give them a potential career is awesome.
"For the guys trying to get a job there's hope," Carter said."That's the biggest thing. Without hope, a lot of us falter."
In the midst of record unemployment numbers and businesses shuttering, Dean's Auto Care and Recovery is booming. They said thanks to their customers they are not only keeping their doors open, but now they are even expanding to Ohio and Indiana.
"Times are hard, jobs are hard to come by, the economy has taken a dive ...and here we are able to say if you need a job we can help you," Carter explained.
Dean Bartholow said this new undertaking is a dream come true. He said he knows it is a frightening time, even for someone not trying to rebuild their life, but he said what he continues to learn is regardless of the state of the world, the people in it are always good.
"We're all in this together, as Andy says, we all got to get through it together. Let's get along and let's love each other," Bartholow said.
Dean's Auto Care and Recovery is located at 1402 Versailles Road in Lexington.