Through the STORM...

Sherry and Tonya joined Brandon on the STORM Bus for the first time several Fridays ago for an “eye opening experience.”

About Sherry and Tonya

Sherry is a licensed therapist with Addiction Services Council and Tonya works with First Step Home.

“I love working with women,” Sherry said of her job and why she boarded the bus. “I work with men too, but my passion is serving women. They have so many needs and so much going on with them. They feel defeated, don’t have anyone left or any sense of hope. I want them to know they are not alone.”

Sherry has worked at Addiction Services Council for six years and has more than 20 years in the recovery field.

Tonya, a mother of three, has a business degree, but ended up working in recovery after she saw a need at her kids’ school.

“Seventy-percent of the children in our district were on the free or reduced lunch program,” she said. “So many needed so much, they had no shoes, no jacket, the basics. That’s hard to see and I wanted to do something about it, more than just meet the needs, but get to the root of the problem. I learned that most come parents were hooked on either meth or heroin.”

She stared working at First Step in March and is “now part of the solution.”

On the bus

It was a busy Friday on the bus. Several women were met with hugs and prayed over. One, received assistance to get into treatment. Another, Sherry and Tonya saw drift into the despair of addiction.

Sara (name changed) boarded the bus with a hard heart and was physically overwhelmed by lack of sleep. She also had been drinking.

“It’s not easy to see,” Tonya said.

Still, they opened their eyes and their hearts. Both Tonya and Sherry spoke kindly to Sara, doing their best convince her to get the help she so needs and deserves. Sara was adamant. She wasn’t ready.

They sat with her for 20 minutes, offering comfort and friendship, until Sara once again left for the streets.


“This was so eye opening,” Sherry said. “You really see what they’re going through. You have to also meet these women where they are, recovery takes a while. It’s all about baby steps. Any movement forward is a celebration and sometimes you have to start again. It’s a process.”

Tonya said that addiction is a vicious cycle.

“It’s not just about detox and getting clean and getting a job,” she said. “These women have to be taught how to do life.”

And so that is the mission for Sherry and Tonya. It’s the mission of the bus and it all starts with a hug and a prayer – knowing someone cares about you even when you can’t care for yourself.


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