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June 25, 2013

Veteran substance abuse counselor retires

MT. VERNON — —

Retiring substance abuse counselor Sharon Fradelos has seen a lot of changes at Jefferson County Comprehensive Services during her over 32 years at the agency.

When she started there in 1981, JCCS had a small, four-bed residential rehab program and a two-bed detox service. The agency now operates a 16-bed residential facility and a seven-bed detox program.

But one thing hasn't changed over the years – the agency's commitment to helping those in need, Fradelos said.

The goal has always been to help those who come to us needing help and it's our duty to do that,” Fradelos said. “I think the philosophy has been very consistent in that we want to be a value to the community, to help anybody that needs the services.”

Fradelos, 66, is the director of substance abuse services at JCCS. She oversees both inpatient and outpatient services, as well as the agency's treatment program at Big Muddy River Correctional Center. She will retire this Friday.

Her co-workers and family held a surprise retirement party for her June 21 to honor her years of service. At the party, Fradelos was presented with a cake and several gifts.

Before being named substance abuse director in 1990, Fradelos held several positions at Comprehensive Services.

She started as an entry level substance abuse technician. At that time, the program was operating out of an office building behind the former Good Samaritan Hospital site.

Fradelos then moved up in the agency to detox supervisor, then to residential supervisor, and finally to director of substance abuse services.

I think we've had lots of challenges along the way and I guess those have, in truth, made us stronger,” Fradelos said. “Of course, they're difficult when you're going through them and not much fun.”

The most pressing issue currently is the Affordable Care Act and how it will affect programs at Comprehensive Services, Fradelos said.

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