On April 12th, we honored the remarkable achievements of the Laborers Escaping Addiction Now (LEAN STL) Program, celebrated for their groundbreaking and life-restoring initiatives. By harnessing the power of Peer Support Specialists, LEAN STL equips Laborers in the St. Louis community with a comprehensive array of tools and resources to address mental health and substance use disorders.

In a special tribute, the ARCHway Institute proudly shines a spotlight on James Pursell and Aaron Walsh, the dedicated Peer Support Specialists at the heart of LEAN STL. They both received the ARCHway Recovery Award for serving as the vital peer support link for participants and their loved ones. James and Aaron stand ready around the clock through a confidential hotline, guiding individuals towards behavioral health and recovery services while education them on their Plan’s benefits.

Meet James Pursell, CPS

“I have been many things in my life: a son, father, husband, brother, friend, Marine, and Laborer. And like many, I have experienced poverty, addiction, mental illness, and suicide. I have also been touched by others’ helping hands, and I plan on being there when I am needed.” – James Pursell

 Meet Aaron Walsh, CPS

“One day working at the Arcade building in downtown St. Louis, I ran into a Laborer who I worked with from the past. This guy was now in recovery, and he was smiling and happy! I asked him how he stopped using, and he explained it to me. I wasn’t ready that day, but he would check up on me every so often until I made the decision to commit to recovery! Sometimes, we just need to know it’s possible to stop. Meeting people where they are at is what a peer does. It’s OK to not be OK! I have been in recovery since May 27, 2015, which I am extremely passionate about. I wouldn’t change anything for who I am today!” – Aaron Walsh

Don Willey, James Pursell, and Aaron Walsh each took a few minutes on stage at the Gala to share about LEAN STL and the hope that it is bringing to their membership. You can listen to their inspiring words on ARCHway’s Youtube Channel HERE or by clicking on the links below.

LEAN STL is one of few programs nationwide that has placed Peer Support Specialists into Employee Assistance Programs. Championing this innovative approach, they set a gold standard for businesses and corporations seeking to provide comprehensive treatment and recovery resources for mental health and substance use disorders. Let us applaud all those who are making LEAN STL possible for their work in this community!

For more information on LEAN STL, visit https://www.stllaborers.com/lean-stl