Work ethic has never been Derek's problem. "I've worked since I was 12." Before he came to the Mission, he was working on the natural gas pipeline. "The hours were great, and the money was even greater, but the time spent alone was harmful for me." He worked 10-12 hours a day, six days a week. "It was work and money – work, paycheck, work, paycheck..." When several weeks of rain kept him from work, Derek found himself with a sizable amount of money and nothing to do. "The loneliness set in," and Derek started using alcohol and drugs to escape.
Through the Mission's Recovery program, Derek learned he needed more than money. "I learned that I needed to be involved in community. I needed to be involved with family. I needed to speak and have human touch. I needed that very dearly, more than I needed the money." So, even though the pipeline wanted him back, Derek decided to take a job that paid less but allowed him to stay in Spokane, put down roots, and have a life outside of work. As an added bonus, God provided an opportunity for him to be in the kitchen – a place he has loved since childhood. His family's rich tradition surrounding food is being put to use in the kitchen of the Davenport Hotel.