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Jason grew up with a drug-addicted mom who went to prison when he was 14. He joined the Army reserves after high school, got a degree in Criminal Justice at UNC-Wilmington and joined the Raleigh Police Department. But after moving to Florida, Jason changed careers, making a lot of money in sales at a local gym, where he began to drink heavily and take pills to keep up with the long hours. He moved back to NC for a job with a company car and credit card and a 6-figure salary; but a back injury, too much freedom on the road, and even longer hours resulted in more pills.
“When you’re productive and good, a lot of people overlook a lot of things,” says Jason. “But it caught up with me. I started missing appointments and I lost my job. My grandmother gave me money any time I needed it until she passed away, but I just kept digging a hole. I kept trying to look good, quit the pills, detox on my own.”
Jason got into trouble for small offenses and large and ended up in prison several times. He stole money from a girlfriend and an employer, always for pills, always intending to pay back the money with the next paycheck. Finally, leaving prison for the last time with the desire to change and nothing but the prison uniform he was wearing, he contacted Raleigh Rescue Mission.
“I’d made a lot of money before, had the nice apartment and the car and the girl, but I wanted to take baby steps this time,” Jason reflects. “Getting everything too quickly is what messed me up before. I knew I needed to figure some things out before I went back out into the world and tried to start over.”
Jason started vocational training in the kitchen, moving quickly to helping out in many areas of the Mission’s operations. After completing the Jobs for Life portion of the New Life Plan and demonstrating a strong work ethic, he was hired and now handles all the food pickups and deliveries at the Mission. He’s been instrumental in developing valuable relationships with vendors like Wegmans.
Ronstadt Manuel, Director of Operations at the Mission, is proud of Jason’s progress. “He works hard, he’s a people person, he does anything that’s asked of him. Especially in the last few months, I’ve seen him actively building back relationships with his family. That to me is growth.”
Jason recently moved into one of the Mission’s master lease apartments with another aftercare client. He’s doing well in the job and reports that he’s regained a strong relationship with Christ. “Raleigh Rescue Mission has helped me care more about other people than myself. I had a hard time learning the difference between selfish and selfless. Now I think about how we can help the clients, whether it’s having daily devotions or promoting exercise or making sure they feel safe. It’s important that we have hope.”
“And you know what the craziest thing is? All I had to do was ask for help. There wasn’t a chance I could do it on my own. These guys at the Mission believe in me, they trust me. They have faith in what I do.”
Congratulations, Jason. God is truly at work in your life.