Cristine Herek

Cristine Herek (far right) with her sister Chancy Sigloch and Sigloch’s family on a trip to Cancun for Thanksgiving 2016.

Cristine Herek’s job was helping people in addiction recovery, something she had to work at in her own life as well.

“She completely turned her life around, gave her life to helping people in recovery,” said her sister, Chancy Sigloch of Riverside, California.

Herek, 53, worked for Heartland Family Service in its Nebraska Family Works program. It provides housing with supportive services to women and families.

Herek had worked as a case manager, then moved into administrative duties.

“She was fighting alcoholism for years and years,” Sigloch said. “She finally got clean and sober 10 years ago.”

Herek’s turnaround followed a prison sentence, with a 15-year license revocation, for a fourth-offense DUI in 2007. After prison, she did residential rehab at Williams Prepared Place in Omaha. She stayed at Williams longer than required, then later ended up working there before moving on to Heartland Family Service.

Herek bought a house in 2013. She won a reprieve from the Nebraska Board of Pardons and got her driver’s license back in 2015.

She recently re-established contact with her children, now grown, after having lost custody of three of the four when they were younger.

Sigloch had distanced herself and her family from Herek for many years. But they had reunited as Herek put her life back together.

Last year, Herek spent Thanksgiving in Cancun with Sigloch, her husband and their children.

The two sisters also used social media to find the three children from whom Herek had been separated years ago.

They live out of state now. Two were willing to see their mother again. But the meeting didn’t happen.

“Tina and I had plans to go out and see them in June,” Sigloch said. But Tina Herek died May 17.

Chris Burbach covers the Douglas County Board, Planning Board and other local government bodies, as well as local neighborhood issues. Follow him on Twitter @chrisburbach. Phone: 402-444-1057.

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