Mari Borrero has been a United States Navy, Kent School District teacher, hospice worker and kind-hearted mentor.
About five years ago, Borrero began to think about his fellow veterans who left the military and are struggling to make the transition to civilian life.
She also thought of ex-inmates like her husband, Aaron, facing their own obstacles as they tried to enter a world that was beyond them when they were behind bars – a world that in many cases wants the least possible. to do with them.
“We were just one family affected by incarceration, but what if we could help three or four other families affected by incarceration?” Mari Borrero remembers wondering. “How would that change their life, their way of life, the fact of being able to provide for their families and in particular their children who are also affected?”
She realized she wanted to start a business to help both groups.
“The system isn’t really set up for these easy transitions to a workspace and back to school,” Borrero explained. “One day Aaron said to me, ‘Hey, we can do this,’ and I said OK, to help our community, I will be an employer of those who were incarcerated before and veterans who are out of service. and who are looking for another opportunity.
Two to three weeks ago, the company they founded five years ago, general contractor American Abatement and Demo, moved from their cradle to their home on the southeast corner of East Main Street and Auburn. Way North.
The company specializes in asbestos and lead reduction, mold removal, structural and interior demolition on the residential and commercial side. Their goal is to help people not only as an employer, but as a whole person. He does this by offering small accommodations, like a vehicle to get to work on time or by lending help getting his driver’s license, and if they can’t get it right away, bring the person at a local bus point where the work trucks will go. Pick them up.
And, most importantly, to provide a support system outside of work to help people in their personal lives, which can even hinder their access to work.
“From there came this,” Borrero said in his new office, “but I didn’t expect this to be what he has become right now and what it is becoming. But I knew we had to find a way to give back, and that’s really how we help our community – by being an employer who helps meet their needs because they have a lot of needs. A lot of guys who’ve been in jail before probably didn’t have a father in their life, didn’t even have a first job.
“I’m a veteran myself and I know some of the hardships of transitioning from the military, and even just finding a job afterwards in a field,” Borrero said. “I had that experience, and my husband has been in jail before too, and he got Governor Inslee’s clemency and he was released. It was difficult for her to find a job. As teachers, we have learned that children do best when they have five close relationships from the start. I don’t think it’s any different now that we’re adults, that we need to have at least five people invested in our success. And personally, as a business owner, I feel like I have a handful of people who are invested in my success. ”
To be certified as an asbestos worker in Washington state, all of its employees must complete a four-day, 32-hour course and pass a test. At the end of this process, the employee obtains a Washington State asbestos worker certification. They also take lead courses which allow them to carry out renovations and repairs.
Bruce, who served in a construction battalion with the US Navy and toured Afghanistan, described his experience returning to civilian life.
“When I left the army, the biggest difficulty was finding a job. I had quit a job to deploy, and when I came back that job was no longer available, so I had to find a new one, ”said Bruce, estimator, project manager and supervisor for the company that requested that his last name not be used. “I’ve been away for a few years, but coming here they are looking for veterans to help them.