There are many sides to battling addiction, as Angie Keaty and Haley Pendergraft know all too well.
There’s the endless fight against chemical dependency, a highly personal feat of determination that is often accompanied by the strength of friends, family and community.
And after that battle comes the challenge of fighting the stigma of drug addiction in society.
Working against drug addiction stigma is what brought Pendergraft, the owner of Local Pros Painting in Maple Valley, to work with Keaty, the co-founder of the local non-profit drug addiction support group Battlefield Addiction, in teaching some recovering addicts a new trade, in the hopes that these newfound skills will show other potential employers their value in the workforce.
“I have had some experience with some of my employees who have come through to the other side — not as a result of anything I have done, just in their own lives — and they’re some of the best guys I know, the hardest working guys I know,” Pendergraft said, sitting in Keaty’s yard around a meal she shared with volunteers from Big Change Recovery Homes, a sober home for recovering addicts after they go through treatment. “They live productive, good lives now. I think there’s a huge value in these guys. They hit a rough patch and are trying to get their way through the hardship, and once they hit the other side, they’re amazing people. I find they’re some of the best employees I’ve ever had.”
Pendergraft originally contacted Keaty last spring to learn more about Battlefield Addiction and to ask if Keaty knew of any recovering addicts that would want to learn the painting trade. Her goal was to start doing yearly community service projects while giving recovering addicts a leg up.
As it turned out, Keaty’s house needed a fresh coat of paint, and after learning more about Battlefield Addiction, Pendergraft wanted to have her first ever community service project…