Grand Junction woman has turned her life around after methamphetamine addiction

Tina Castro works in the GJ Goodwill store.

Tina Castro was 16 when she became hooked on methamphetamine. More than two decades later, the Grand Junction woman has turned her life around and is being heralded for her leadership and stellar work ethic.

Castro, 38, who served four years of a nine-year prison sentence on drug-related charges, was recognized recently with a prestigious award from her employer, Goodwill Industries.

With a felony on her record, Castro initially struggled to find work, but management at the secondhand store offered her a chance to prove herself.

Nearly two years later, Castro is enjoying the fruits of a promotion and the thrill of receiving the company’s 2008 Co-Independence Award, the first time the honor has been bestowed on an employee in Grand Junction.

“I couldn’t be in a better place,” Castro said, smiling and looking around the store where she works, 630 24 1/2 Road. “It took a lot of focusing to get here.”

Castro had been a drug addict for 18 years when she got into trouble with the law in her 30s.

Being sentenced to prison afforded her an opportunity to learn who she was, although the experience also hardened her.

Castro was stabbed in the arm by another inmate on her second day of being incarcerated; the scars still are visible when she lifts her shirt’s right sleeve.

Castro said she was lucky to be able to work outside doing construction while incarcerated at a prison in Pueblo, and she kept busy so she wouldn’t be tempted to use drugs that were available there.

“I guess it took me to go to prison and lose custody of my children,” she said of her desire to transform her life.

She and her husband, Raul, now have joint custody of their children, and they are expecting another child in October.

Coincidentally, when Castro traveled with her parents, husband and kids to Colorado Springs to receive the award April 14, their route took them near to where Castro was incarcerated.

This time around Castro was dressed in a silk shirt and dress pants, not prison garb.

She accepted the award in front of a crowd of about 700 people during a ceremony at the Broadmoor Hotel, and in her speech, she thanked her family members for their support. 

“I like the person that I am now,” she said recently while working at Goodwill.

“I’ve learned to be a better mom and a better wife to my husband. No one would have given me a chance being a felon. I think a lot of places look down on the felons.”


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