Downtown Lufkin diner serves plate full of second chances

Mom's Diner said they experienced staffing shortages in recent weeks.
Mom's Diner said they experienced staffing shortages in recent weeks.(all use)
Published: Feb. 13, 2022 at 2:58 PM CST
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LUFKIN, Texas (KTRE) - One small gem of a diner in downtown Lufkin strives to give people a second chance. Mom’s Diner employs many members of drug court and Mantooth House, but they have been experiencing some staffing issues these past few weeks.

Julie Nash said they were down at least five people these past few weeks due to employees being sick and a few other issues. Nash said Mom’s Diner has employed 10 to 15 people from drug court and or Mantooth House.

“When you’re down that many people, you have all these other employees working extra and over, so they don’t even get time off,” Nash said.

Word of the staffing issues got to Judge Inselmann.

“I have a few members of my drug court that are also employees of Mom’s Diner, and they were talking about being short-handed here, and I don’t know if it started off as a joke, but I ended up saying that I was going to come over here to work,” Inselmann said.

Inselmann said he even obtained his food handlers license from a certification course online. He’s been filling in here and there and enjoying it.

“It’s been fun! I’ve really never worked in a fast-food restaurant, so it’s a lot more hectic than you think. So it’s been challenging,” Inselmann said.

Jennifer Copeland is a recovering addict. She started at the diner in March 2021 after looking all over town for a job.

“Nobody would touch me … nobody. I went everywhere. And they’re like, ‘Not with your record. You have to be out three years.’ Nothing,” Copeland said. “And not to mention, not only did I have a record, but I had a rigorous schedule with my recovery that I had to keep. And Jason just worked around all of it,” Copeland said.

Jason Nash, the manager at Mom’s Diner, said if it wasn’t for the first recovering addict he hired, there would’ve been a dozen other recovering addicts that never would’ve had a chance at the diner.

“I know what it’s about having a second chance, and I know how important it is. And so, just trying to give people the opportunity to improve their lives,” Nash said.

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