The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is always a busy day for the staff at 410 South Crouse, home base for our substance abuse treatment services, as they go all out to prepare a home-cooked holiday meal for current clients and alumni of the day rehabilitation program.
And leading the celebration, just as he has for the past 25 years, is activities therapist Gerry Mahon, who along with his colleagues, was serving it up today to more than 100 current and past patients, many of whom come back every year for the fellowship and camaraderie.
One former patient, clean and sober for 14 years, said: “I come every year. It helps me remember how I was when I came in, and how strong I felt when I left here.”
As Gerry (left, top picture) explains, this Crouse tradition was actually started by recently retired program director Otto Feliu, who would spend the morning cooking in his kitchen at home, then bring in the feast for clients to enjoy. Today, the turkeys are prepared in the main kitchen at Crouse and transported down to 410.
During this afternoon’s festivities, staff presented Gerry with a framed picture marking his 25 years of dedication and service to patients – and his passion for keeping a Crouse Chemical Dependency Treatment Services holiday tradition alive.
“Even after 25 years, this is always a special day,” says Gerry. “And seeing alumni come back clean and sober is great encouragement for our current clients.”