Our Team

 


Leadership Team

 

Andrew Gonyea

Andrew Gonyea

Andrew is a native of Bellows Falls, a VFOR co-founder, and VFOR’s Director of Operations. He is also a person in recovery since May 24, 2003. Andrew’s life has been shaped largely by his experience as an inmate with the Vermont Department of Corrections from 2005-2008. Andrew is the rare individual who was able to turn a period of incarceration into a truly positive, life-changing experience. While incarcerated, Andrew stayed sober, received an education, and through many months of soul-searching, determined that he would commit his life to providing people in recovery with safe and sober places to live. Since, his release in 2008, Andrew has done just that, managing sober houses throughout Chittenden County. Andrew has received formal training in sober house operations, recovery coaching, Cognitive Self Change, and 16 Habits of Mind. His smiling face is seemingly omnipresent throughout the recovery community in Vermont and beyond, and his commitment to service is widely recognized and admired. VFOR is the manifestation of Andrew’s dreams, and he is excited to commit his life to developing a vibrant network of Recovery Homes.

David Riegel

David Riegel

David is one of VFOR’s co-founders and currently serves as VFOR’s Executive Director.  David is a native of Waterbury and a graduate of Harwood Union High School.  He is currently employed as a Supervisor with JetBlue Airways in Burlington.  David is also a person in recovery since January, 2007.  Since that time, David has been heavily involved in the recovery community.  He is often asked to speak at 12 Step meetings and conferences, and has conducted weekend seminars on 12 Step literature.  David became involved in sober housing in 2008, when he began renting his own home to other recovering alcoholics and addicts.  David recently realized that there is a great need for safe, transparent, well-managed, sober housing throughout Vermont, and hopes to make providing this service his life’s work.

 


Operations Team

 

Lucas Patterson

Lucas Patterson

Lucas is a native of South Hero, Vermont and serves as the Director of Marketing and Outsourcing.  He is also a person in recovery since June, 2011 and his first one and a half years in recovery was spent living at the Oxford House in Burlington, Vermont.  After moving out of the Oxford House, Lucas continued to mentor there for another three years.  He believes that sober living is a vital piece of early recovery for many, and all individuals who seek it, should have it readily available to them.  Lucas spends his time in the recovery community in Burlington, pursuing his Bachelor of Sciences in Business, and Marketing at Champlain College.

Jody White

Jody White

Jody is a native of Vermont, and resident of the St. Albans area.  Jody serves as a House Manager for VFOR with a variety of specialties.  Jody has been a person in recovery since March, 2015 and heavily involved in the recovery community.  Jody is involved in the community service field including, the Franklin County Turning Point Center, Franklin County RJC, and he’s also a Grand Isle and Franklin County Community Partners member.

 

 

 


Board of Directors

 

Melissa Riegel-Garrett

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Melissa Riegel-Garrett

Melissa is a native of Waterbury, VFOR’s President of the Board of Directors, and a 1992 graduate of the University of Vermont with a B.S. in Education and Early Childhood Development.  She has also received a M.S. in Education and Early Childhood Leadership from Bank Street College of Education in New York, NY.  Melissa has been the Executive Director of the Vermont Association for the Education of Young Children since 2006, and she teaches regularly at both Champlain College and the Community College of Vermont.  Melissa’s passion for sober housing—and for the recovery community generally—stems from the effect she has seen it have on her brother, David.  As Melissa puts it, the positive effects of sober housing and peer support of the recovery community, “gave me my brother back.”  Melissa is involved in VFOR with the hope that she may help give other families the gift of their loved ones becoming healthy.

Lee Anne Billings

Lee Anne

Lee Anne Billings

Lee Anne has several years of experience working in the non-profit and recovery world. She has worked as a Medical Case Manager for a non-profit organization serving HIV/AIDS clients, and more recently, as a Treatment Counselor and Aftercare Group Facilitator at Vermont inpatient substance abuse treatment facility. Lee Anne is currently pursuing additional education—working towards LADC licensure.  She is very passionate about what we do at VFOR and we are honored to have her.

Curtis Ostler

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Curtis Ostler

Curtis is the Associate Dean of Resource Development at Vermont Technical College, with twenty-five years of experience in development, sales, and project management. Prior to Vermont Tech, he was the Development & Communications Director at ReSOURCE, Director of Corporate & Foundation Relations at Norwich University, and Vice President of Sales/Director of Project Management at WallGoldfinger. Twenty-three year residents of Waterbury, Curtis and his family are neighbors to one of VFOR’s Recovery Homes. His interests include writing, basketball, history, biking, cooking, and woodworking. Curtis can be found on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/curtisostler.

 

Thomas Schaefer

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Thomas Schaefer

Thomas (Tom) is our newest board member.  Tom believes that safe, transparent, and sober living homes are of utmost importance with the growing addiction problem facing this state.  He’s dedicated and committed to our cause of providing homes for people in need.

 

 

 

 

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