Thanksgiving chef who battled addiction gives back

Published: Nov. 23, 2017 at 8:19 PM CST
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The man who prepared a special Thanksgiving meal for the homeless at the Siena Francis House knows all too well what it's like to be on the receiving end of that kindness.

Harold Patsios prepares the meals every day but he puts a little extra love into it on Turkey Day.

"Try to give them a little extra warmth and happiness. Try to spread a little love and cheer,” he said.

It was 13 years ago that Patsios attended his first Thanksgiving at the Siena Francis House – but not as a meal prepper.

"I feel blessed. Blessed because I used to be on that side of the fence,” said Patsios. "I know what it feels like to be lonely and out there. A guy without a home."

He was addicted to alcohol and he needed help. They gave him the tools to rise above. It started with a job.

"It meant a lot to me when I first came here,” he said. "When I got here they put me in the kitchen and I just haven't left yet.”

Now he's working full-time as manager of the very kitchen that saved his life. In addition to battling his addiction, he's had to take on cancer as well. But the other day he had a checkup.

"My doctor told I have a clean bill of health,” Patsios said.

He says he has a lot to be thankful for.

"Just being alive, having family that care about you, friends…”

Now he just wants to help guide others down the right path.

"Don't be too proud to ask for help and don't look at it like a handout, look at it like a hand up."