Growing up I played basketball and was very athletic. I was raised in Greenbrier County in a very dysfunctional family. At age 10 I began drinking and at age 11 I started smoking weed. I had watched my father do it. At one point my mom,
dad and I were all strung out on drugs. The three of us sold drugs together.
In 1987 I sold drugs to an undercover cop and was arrested for the first time. I received a one to five year sentence. After serving the time, I moved to Roanoke Virginia and started selling again. In 1990, I had a marijuana charge and received probation. From 1990 to 1998, I continued selling drugs and eventually started using again. I overdosed twice and ended up in the hospital. The only thing that saved me was my strong heart.
I went to a mental health clinic trying to get my life back together, and I went to a rehab program trying to get off cocaine. Nothing I tried worked. I lived with my parents from 2000 to 2001. I was living in Delaware and on my way to work one day in October 2002, when the feds swarmed my car and arrested me. I remember that day like it was yesterday. I was sentenced on my birthday February 11th, and I spent 8 years in federal prison.
Seven years of my sentence were spent in Lexington. I struggled every day and didn’t think I would make it. It was so hot and I saw many ladies die. There was so much going on in prison, and I eventually gave up. Every day was an effort. I couldn’t eat, and I lost so much weight that I looked like a skeleton. I didn’t want to deal with life anymore and tried to take my own life a couple of times.
In March 2010, I was taken to a federal medical facility in Carswell Texas. I know God put angels in that prison just for me. The sisters walked with me and prayed for me. We read the Word together and on June 10, 2010, they led me to the Lord. In chapel, they preached to my soul. I thank God for each of them. I began to walk, exercise and feel stronger. As my time got shorter, I walked around spreading God’s Word and people saw the change in me. I was released April 7, 2011, and especially remember how it felt walking through the airport without shackles. It is something I will never forget.
I was released to a halfway house, started going to church, working and rented an apartment.Because of my past felony conviction, things weren’t easy. Even though I had changed who I was, it was tough finding a place to live and work. I understood this but became discouraged as I lost my apartment.
My probation required that I have a place to live. I had a choice of going back to White Sulphur Springs where I grew up or going into a homeless shelter. I knew going back wouldn’t be good for me so I chose the homeless shelter and went
Brookside has changed my life! They have been wonderful to me and God has blessed me so much! I am working now at the mission’s thrift store and putting my life back together. I thank God for Brookside and Union Mission being here to help me.
I am living proof that God can change you. Through this experience I know that obedience can bring birth to our blessings. As I always say I am blessed by the best!