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John’s Story

It’s important to know the many different individuals that come through the Mel Trotter doorways. There are talented individuals, creative minds, and beautiful souls.

I was born in Port Huron, Michigan. I’m the oldest of 3 boys. Growing up, it was a little tricky to build solid friendships because my dad was a builder and our family moved around a lot. Sometimes we’d move into houses that wasn’t complete and dad would finish them as we lived in them. We would also move out with them incomplete. 

My Dad’s side of the family was more cultured and my mom’s side was more of the Hillbilly side. My dad was also an alcoholic.

 My high school years were about average. I didn’t participate in any extracurricular activities but instead I was very interested in electro-mechanical occupations. Because I felt the need to do something heroic, I enlisted early in the Navy through the delayed entry program. I liked being in the Navy, but what I didn’t like was getting a firsthand look at global politics. While in the Navy, my actions took me in a different direction and I made some horrible mistakes. I was dishonorably discharged and I served 18 months in “The Brig” and also with the state of Florida. After serving that time, I returned home to live with my parents and work in construction with my dad.

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After the Navy, and with feelings of depression, the alcohol started. Those feelings grew larger and stronger. They also lead me to a horrible night when I attacked my family. My mom was the only one seriously injured. What a horrible time for her, she’s been a victim of 3 men from alcohol (her dad, her husband, and me). Because of that incident, I served 22 ½ years in prison. Throughout it all, I still relied on my faith and my religion. My Catholic faith is very important to me. 5 years before I was released from prison in 2011, I met a woman through a pen pal program. We later got married while I was still ending my sentence. My marriage lasted 8 years when I was paroled to Grand Rapids. My daughter was also born (who’s now 3 years old). After I was divorced, that depression and those horrible thoughts crept back into my head. Because of those thoughts, I went to Pine Rest for 9 days and then came to Mel Trotter.

Being at Mel Trotter helped me find other ways to serve and strengthen my relationship with God. Mel Trotter gives me a safe place, and a chance to re-tool my life. I’ve always wanted to serve God and always kept my religion with my top priorities. It means a lot to be at a place where I can worship, attend devotions and bible study. I’m thankful to have advocates and others around me that share the same views towards worship that I do. Without being here at Mel Trotter, I feel that I would be truly homeless and with no one. Out of desperation, I probably would fall back to crime and the dark side of my life. I don’t think anyone would truly welcome the person that I once was.

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