Valuable is the word to describe Preston Washington. He was valuable to his community as a police officer from 1965 to 1980 and continued to be valuable as his career took a few turns. As a police officer, his tools were a 38 revolver, a billy club and handcuffs. As a probation officer from 1983 to 1990, his tools moved to being his counseling skills. He was especially appreciated in his work with female clients. Most of them had only known males as toxic relationships. Many of the women going through probation expressed gratitude for the ability to work one on one with him learning they could have a positive relationship with a male figure.
His interest in social service led him into working with clients on the National Council on Drug and Alcohol. Preston was appointed to the board of Amethyst Place, which helps women recover from drugs and alcohol. Amethyst Place impressed him with their inclusion and focus on the women’s families in their recovery. Up until then, women had been underserved in our community. Preston served 8 years on the Amethyst Place board, the maximum allowed under their Bylaws.
As one of his admirers said, “Preston is a person we call when we need expertise on drug and alcohol problems, when we need to better understand individuals who are incarcerated, returning from prison. He listens well and responds with his experience and wisdom. He is one of our cities’ unsung heroes.”