Pay It 4ward: Albuquerque man thanked for inspiration, support

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Recovery can be a long and lonely road, and support during that journey can change the whole experience.

Tonight’s Pay It 4ward helps a man who dedicates his life to being that support for others.

“I’ve been sober for four and a half months and I’ve been here for two months,” said Brandi Ortiz, Pay It 4ward nominator. 

Ortiz joined the Hoffman Hall Program to help change her life. It’s a group of sober living homes across Albuquerque. 

“I think recovering addicts don’t get enough positivity, in the light they get a lot of negativity around them and I think this is just a good way to bring– we do recover and we do become functioning members of society,” said Ortiz. 

No one knows that better than Robert Villalobos. He’s the director of Hoffman Hall, but Ortiz says his role goes much deeper than that. 

“Robert’s been a great inspiration and a great help to me– I don’t think I would’ve made it this far without his encouragement and his support,” said Ortiz. “If we don’t have clothes when we get here he goes out of his way to find us clothes, if we don’t have food when we get here he’ll give us food. He has 11 houses and he helps every house the same– like he goes out of his way so much for everybody.”

So it was time to Pay It 4ward. We caught him at Ortiz’s house– dedicating more time to the people he serves.

“I just wanted you to know Robert, we appreciate everything you do for us, and we love you so much, and you don’t know what a big inspiration you are to us,” Ortiz said. 

“I’m kinda speechless and usually I’m not that’s the point that’s the best part,” said Villalobos. 

Villalobos is about six years clean himself.

“I said ‘you have a purpose for me and whatever it is I’ll follow it,’ and this is the purpose.”

He says the true gift for him is to watch others find the same success. 

“You drive by a bus station and people are getting high, and when you come in here people are getting clean, and they’re making– they’re changing their lives,” Villalobos said. “I mean even the little guy over there, you know his mom fought to get him back you know, and he gets to be here, and he gets to touch our life you know. Those are the things that matter.”