Jeremy McKenzie from Covenant Recovery Inc., was the speaker for the DuBocage Chapter of the American Business Women's Association monthly meeting held recently at the Pine Bluff Country Club.

Jeremy McKenzie from Covenant Recovery Inc., was the speaker for the DuBocage Chapter of the American Business Women’s Association monthly meeting held recently at the Pine Bluff Country Club.

McKenzie is a 2010 graduate of Pulaski Technical College with a general studies degree and is currently working on his undergraduate at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. He is certified through the Arkansas Substance Abuse Certification Board as a drug and alcohol counselor and has over eight years experience in dealing with substance abusers. He is founder and executive director of Covenant Recovery Inc., here in Pine Bluff.

McKenzie is a native of Pine Bluff and grew up with good parents and had a normal childhood but got off on the wrong track when he was 17. He was in and out of treatment centers but at 19 he was sentenced to a program in Little Rock as an alternative to prison. He stayed 26 months and knew then he would go this route to helping others when he could. Afterward he went back to work at the treatment center. He has been clean and sober for nine years. He gives credit to God for constantly providing help in the form of money, materials and motivation.

In 2005 he started working to put the Covenant program together and scouted around Pine Bluff for a future home for his facility. He has converted the old brick office of Standard and Brake Shoe that came into his possession in 2008. At the time the building was in very bad shape with no working electricity or plumbing and the ceiling partly caved with broken concrete block walls in places. He described how he chipped away at the necessary repairs a little at a time, living there for two years in an effort to repair the building while trying to get support. It is now considered the nicest recovery center in the state.

Covenant is a 50-bed transitional living facility providing drug and alcohol services to people in need. The first five clients were received Dec. 29, 2011. There are 29 clients there now. This is a private pay facility costing $700 per month but he doesn’t turn anyone away. The clients are helped to get a job after being in house for at least 30 days. They are required to save money, pay their rent, and have a little left for personal needs with the goal being to teach them responsibility. The clients are also taught resume-writing, job interview techniques, how to obtain personal identification, drug and alcohol education classes, GED classes, along with daily meditations.

McKenzie helps put peoples lives back together. This disease affects young and old, rich and poor, there are no discriminations, just people who made some bad decisions in their lives. Most are there voluntarily because they want help, occasionally the state requires someone to go to treatment but Covenant is not a lock-down facility.

During the business meeting the Business Associate Night was decided to be held at the regular June 5 meeting. Janelle Powell from the Arts and Science Center will be the guest speaker.

Joyce Ann Green, chairman of the nominating committee, presented the slate of officers for next year as Donna Renfro, president; Mary Coburn, vice president; Diane Wilson, treasurer; and Green as recording secretary. The new officers will be installed and take office in August.

Mary Baxter announced the Ways and Means Committee will have a White Elephant Table for the next meeting. Anyone wishing to donate items, such as as baked goods, books, audio books, new cosmetics, or what-nots for the table should bring them to the meeting or get the items to Baxter by calling 870-534-1919.

Green won the dollar pot. Diane Wilson won the door prize. Marnelle Clement, Helen Pennington, Rhonda Gammel and Judy Conn won birthday gifts.