Announcing the 2017 “Mac” McLester Award Winners

Introducing the 2017 “Mac” McLester Award Winners!

Eric Button, Spirit of Recovery

Julie McElrath, Champion of Recovery

Read their stories!

Eric Button, Spirit of Recovery

Eric is well-known in the local, state, and national Recovery communities, bringing a sense of joy and inspiration to all those he meets. He often serves as a point of reference for colleagues, families, and peers in directing people to the right resource. His infectious passion for helping others goes well beyond, ranking him high on the reference list of many, as he serves in the roles of mentor, helper, advocate, and friend.

Eric has assisted scores of families since 2006 when he began working in the field of addiction recovery as an inpatient Recovery Tech at Mark Houston Recovery. Eric co-founded Addiction Directions, an innovative post-treatment monitoring and housing program which helped clients to achieve sustained sobriety and personal growth. In his current role of Family Relations/Business Development with Burning Tree, a long-term alcohol and drug treatment organization, Eric is an invaluable team member helping individuals and families into recovery. He oversees the Burning Tree Foundation Annual Golf Classic, with proceeds going to help fund addiction treatment for those without available resources. Eric organizes and facilitates Burning Tree’s Family Program, and has helped hundreds of suffering addicts and their loved ones, find hope and healing.

A Peer Recovery Support Specialist since 2010, Eric supports the Texas Association of Addiction Professionals (TAAP) local chapter and state organization, and is a regular volunteer, advocate and attendee at most recovery events. His greatest designation is that he is a selfless, respected, and joyful spirit in the field of Recovery. Eric Button is truly one-of-a-kind.
Julie has a tireless dedication to build and sustain recovery in the Austin community. As Executive Director of University High School, she is both an anchor and support for students and their families as well as the hub of all youth recovery efforts in Central Texas.

Julie McElrath, Champion of Recovery

As a UT student and Assistant Instructor for the Young People and Drugs Class, Julie helped conceptualize, initiate and support the UT Drug and Alcohol Peer Advisors (DAPAs), a group of students committed to raising awareness and reducing stigma related to substance abuse and recovery on the University of Texas Campus.

While finishing her Masters in Social Work at UT Austin, Julie was instrumental in laying the groundwork for Austin’s first recovery high school, University High School (UHS), open since the fall of 2014. Under her leadership and initiatives, the school has thrived, bringing hope and healing to hundreds of young people and their families.

Julie serves on numerous Coalitions and Collaboratives including the Travis County Youth Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition, Williamson County LifeSteps Coalition, Strategic Planning Group for the Alliance for Adolescent Recovery Treatment in Texas, Recovery Oriented Care Collaborative, and the Adolescent ROSC of Texas.

She has obtained grants that are not only the foundation of the school, but support youth in Central Texas including the Alternative Peer Groups, Communities for Recovery, the UT Center for Students in Recovery, our sister school, Archway Academy, and other organizations.

Julie believes in the power of community partners and models professional collaboration skills in all interactions. The compassion and regard she has for her students is absolutely boundless.

Don’t miss Eric and Julie’s award ceremony at Communities for Recovery’s 9th Annual LifeBuilder Luncheon. Get your tickets here.