Moving company gives its crews a second chance at life

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GILBERT, ARiz. (KSAZ) — A new moving company in the Valley is doing more than just moving things from one place to the next.

It is helping those lifting the boxes and furniture find a purpose, and beat addiction.

While most students in the program at the John Volken Academy in Gilbert are getting ready for their daily responsibilities of feeding horses, cleaning stalls and landscaping on the ranch, A four-person crew is getting ready for their first move of the day.

“Some days we have a huge five bedroom home, some days we have three little moves,” said crew boss Treyden Johnson.

The academy is a two-year drug and alcohol rehabilitation program centered around work therapy. Most of the work involves maintaining the ranch, until now.

“We’ve moved businesses, we’ve moved large homes, we move small offices, we’ll move one bedroom apartments. Really, we can do anything in the industry,” said Carter Crawford, manager of the John Volken Academy Movers.

A few months back, the not-for-profit movers business was started.

“It all goes right back into the foundation,” said Crawford. “It helps pay for the food the guys in the program eat. The lights, the electricity, literally everything you see out here on the ranch.”

Those moving things from one place to the next are students in the program. Crawford himself is a graduate.

“We typically don’t send anyone out until they’ve been here for six months, and within that, all of our crew bosses have been here over a year,” said Crawford. “It’s guys who’ve excelled in the program and other areas of responsibility, and we’ve decided they’ve been qualified to be in the position of going out on the moving company.”

Two of the members on the crew and currently in the program are Treyden Johnson and James McNally. Both have struggled with addiction for many years, and are now overcoming it. They say the academy, along with the moving business, are crucial to their recovery, as it helps them with time management, working in a professional environment and how a business is started and grows.

“You’re given trust with money and with customers and driving a $100,000 truck around the city and help running a business,” said Johnson. “Then, my purpose and my self confidence began to grow, and I realized that me as a person, as Treyden, really do have a value.”

“Before I came to the program, I wasn’t trusted with much because I had ruined every relationship and opportunity in my life so it’s great,” said McNally. “It’s something that’s essential to life and progression. Being trusted with money and people’s things and doing a good job, it’s great because you have to have those things to succeed in life.”

The experiences and interactions the guys on the moving crew are having everyday are better preparing them for life off of the ranch.

“My future looks like I’m going to own my own. I want to build an online website for building skateboard ramps. That’s what I’ll be doing,” said McNally. “It’s been nice to be able to watch how a company starts from beginning to where it’s at now.”

Johnson and McNally will graduate next year, taking with them their sobriety and skills that will help them to continue moving their lives in the right direction.

“At the end of the day, after a five, six bedroom home, if you know that you can look back and that you tried your hardest and did your very best, then it gives you a little more confidence and it gives you a little more purpose, and the next day, you’re a little bit better, and if you keep doing that day in and day out, that does wonders for your self purpose,” said Johnson.

The company follows all Arizona laws and regulations, and is a fully licensed company with the state.

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