Saying Goodbye After 28 Years

Charles Lyons

Former Prairie Center Residential Reentry Coordinator

When Charles Lyons began his career with Prairie Center, keyboards didn’t exist. Starting as a Treatment Tech with us back in 1989 and back then he sported a ponytail and a lot fewer wrinkles.

Now 28 years later, we bid Charles — who rose through the ranks here for nearly 3 decades from Treatment Tech to Halfway House Counselor to Extended Care Coordinator to Residential Reentry Coordinator — a fond farewell.

In 1984 Charles himself had just found his own sobriety. Journaling as a part of working his recovery program, he recalls writing that he wanted to become a counselor to convicted felons with drug and alcohol problems.


His writings, he says, were a premonition for his future.

He was hit by a van four years later and found himself no longer able to work construction. But his dedication to his 12-step program had not gone unnoticed by staff at Prairie Center, and not long after the accident he was asked to join the team as a Treatment Tech.

He showed up for work on a chilly Thursday, March 16, 1989 scared to death. “It was a big jump from construction to coming here,” he says.

Every day is filled with both opportunity and challenge here.

But he never looked back. “Every day is filled with both opportunity and challenge here,” the slightly gristled Harley-riding Residential Reentry Coordinator says. “But having someone come back years later and say they are grateful for the chance for change makes every day here a remarkable one.”

In retirement, Charles is looking forward to spending time with Carla, his wife of over two decades. And riding that 2009 Ultra Classic Harley, too, of course.

“I’ve seen a lot of miracles come through this place,” he says. “No doubt, I am going to miss it around here.”

Farewell, Charles, and thanks for the dedication, caring, and lives changed you’ve brought to Prairie Center in your 28 years with us.

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