At Covenant Coffee, we have a tendency to see the best in people. Even if they've had a tough go of things. Even if they've made mistakes. I should know. Not only am I the company's Chief Encouragement Officer, I'm the Chief Sinner with a Past.

One of our most-valued team members is chef Andrew Paparrela, who came to Covenant Coffee from the Padre Hotel, where he began his Bakersfield career 10 months ago. Andrew left the Padre early this summer and decided to volunteer with Covenant. He subsequently accepted an offer to train former foster youth, organize our food services and develop amazing menus and meals. He has done a tremendous job in every way.

Unfortunately, a local TV station that aired a recent story on Covenant Coffee's new ventures at the Bakersfield Racquet Club, Bakersfield Memorial Hospital and in Shafter chose to focus on our chef's background. That aspect of the story was completely irrelevant.

Fortunately, Covenant Coffee is doing well thanks in great part to the many good people in Bakersfield who understand we all have a past. I'm grateful for people who understand that we all, like our esteemed chef, are capable of moving beyond our pasts, making amends and paying it forward.

Randy Martin