Christian employer gives addicts second chance
Mason Beasler
AFA Journal intern

November 2019George Vorel and Jeramie Miller have the same birthday, February 12. They also share a common past, a story of forgiveness, trust, and second, third, and fourth chances.

The two met in 1998, and at the time, Miller was a heroin user. At the suggestion of a mutual friend, Vorel gave Miller a chance, and hired him to work at Envirosafe Stripping Incorporated (ESI).

Vorel himself was no stranger to the journey toward a relationship with Christ. He did not come to know the Lord until he was 48 years old. However, that journey began when he was 28, and a seed was planted in his heart.

During that time, Vorel was making sales calls with Chuck, a friend. Vorel vividly remembers one particular lunch.

First priorities
“First thing he does,” recounted Vorel, “before the meal even comes, he starts praying. And I thought, What is with this guy? Praying openly like that? How embarrassing.”

However, the Lord began to move on Vorel’s heart. Later, he went back to Chuck and asked him about his prayer life.

“I notice you pray all the time. What’s that all about?” Vorel asked. “Talk to me about that.”

Chuck answered, “The Lord wants you more than you want Him. All He asks is that you show faith, read the Bible, go to church, worship, and learn about this God [who] you have turned your back on your whole life.”

This conversation changed Vorel’s life forever, and set him on a path that would lead him to give his life completely to Jesus Christ. Using his degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Cincinnati, Vorel founded ESI in 1994 in Carnegie, Pennsylvania. Providing industrial coating services, ESI has clients all over the world.

Although Vorel today still leads ESI to hire recovering drug addicts, he has not always been so lenient when it comes to drug abuse. When he first founded ESI, his view on drug addiction, and those caught in it, was very grim.

Hire an addict and they’re going to steal you blind! Vorel remembered thinking.

Second chances
However, Vorel’s relationship with the Lord was growing, and soon he would be led to consider hiring recovering addicts.

“I felt very strongly that we were a company that was blessed,” Vorel told AFA Journal. “How could I be as blessed as I am and not give back?”

It was during this time, several years after the founding of the company, that Vorel met the young man named Jeramie Miller. Vorel had known Miller through a mutual friend, and he knew that Miller had a history of drug abuse.

However, because of God moving on Vorel’s heart to reach people striving for freedom from drugs, he hired Miller, and so began a friendship that has lasted to this day. Miller is now drug free, and though he no longer works at ESI, the two still meet often to catch up and invest in each other’s lives.

ESI has clearly gone above and beyond to help those who are striving to break free from drug addiction. At ESI, two-thirds of Vorel’s 30 employees are recovering drug addicts. ESI hires these men not only for their labor, but also to assist in their journey to sobriety and freedom from addiction.

“… my Lord has been patient with me and my shortcomings,” Vorel once told Guideposts Magazine. “[He’s] given me that second chance, third chance, fourth chance to find Him and adhere to His will for me. When we give these gentlemen the opportunity, I know that our Lord is smiling.”