Essex Junction businesses supporting those in recovery

ESSEX JUNCTION, Vt. (WCAX) – Second chances can be lifesavers for those in recovery, but they usually have a hard time finding them, thanks to the stigma surrounding substance use disorders.

At Marks Barbeque, one employee defied those, opening the door for others, and starting a conversation within the community.

“I went to 35 job interviews and they were all no’s, and they were horrible no’s’,” Casey DeGuise, general manager at Mark’s Barbeque told us.

Just out of jail, living in a sober home, and looking to start over, he was up front about his situation to potential employers.

“I would tell them I was in recovery, I had pending federal charges, and I have state probation, but I’m a hard worker and I want to get my life rolling,” DeGuise said. He’s been in recovery for three and a half years.

Then he went to job interview number 36 at Mark’s Barbeque.

“I was like, if you don’t want to continue this anymore, I can go,” DeGuise said of his interview with owner Darrell Langworthy. “He was like no, let’s continue, sit back down please.”

Langworthy says at that moment he saw someone who was honest and really looking to turn their life around.

“I gave someone who was looking for a chance at life that chance he was looking for and I didn’t realize that until we had a discussion a year later, he said ‘if you hadn’t given me that job I’d probably be right back to what i was doing before,” Langworthy said.

Because taking a gamble on DeGuise was such a good choice, Langworthy continues to hire people openly in recovery and work with them the best he can. Right now, they’re working on building a Recovery Kitchen program.

“My father told me once, you hire people not employees,” Langworthy explained. “If you hire people, you win every time. If you hire employees, you get what you pay for.”

“Do the hard work. If you’re uncomfortable, you’re probably on to something great,” DeGuise said. “If you work hard, you can do anything.”

The business posts about their employee’s recovery milestones on social media. DeGuise says they’re usually met with support from the community.

It’s also opened the door to many meaningful conversations.

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