Prior to coming to PAYH, it seems I was consistently finding myself in some type of trouble. My addictions led me to begin stealing to support my habits, which nearly cost my father his job when I stole from his employer. The drinking, running away, and anger of a rebellious teenager left my parents and the judicial system with few options; the judge wanted to put me “under the jail.” Thankfully, God softened his heart and I soon became a member of what I consider the elite group that is the Paul Anderson Family. This forever changed my course in life.
My time at PAYH was phenomenal. I cannot lie and say I was not angry when I first arrived, feeling like some sort of injustice had been done, but had it not been for Christ’s intervention through the Home I would most likely still be lost to this day. The discipline, the faith, and the integrity they teach have shaped my day-to-day work ethic as well as my role as a husband and father. I still get up at 5:00 AM, spend some time with Christ, and head to the gym before I begin my day. These are habits that have been a part of me since my early days at PAYH, and I believe they are a big part of why God has allowed me to excel. In the words of my employer; “It’s not the fact that he is aggressive – it’s his tenacity and persistence that wins every time.” These are the traits I attribute to Eddie, Glenda, Betty & Mrs. Truett and my friends at the home.
I enlisted in the USMC in 1988 after graduating the program. I was soon deployed to the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm, where I served with 2nd Tank Battalion as a scout and naval gunfire spotter. Oddly enough, as I was torn between college and the Corps, the academics scared me way more than the demands of the Corps. I was literally scared of books more than bullets. Eventually I did get over this and pursued a degree in science.
After completing my degree, I began practicing as a transport respiratory therapist, caring for critically ill infants, and children and taking care of them and keeping them breathing in-route to or in-between hospitals. I eventually became a supervisor for the Women and Children’s Center in Albany, Georgia, which in turn opened another door as an account manager for a medical device company for which I manage the accounts in Georgia and North Florida. Along with His financial blessing, Christ has given me a beautiful wife (Kristen) and “loaned” me three beautiful Angels He allows us to call our daughters (Olivia, Kendall & Malia).
God has cared for me and blessed me beyond measure. People look at me as if I’m crazy when I say this, but I can’t be ungrateful for any event that has occurred in my life. Everything was necessary, the good, the bad… all of the trouble. All of the events that I have lived through were necessary for Christ to mold me into the man I am today. I will forever be thankful that God led me to PAYH!
PAYH Alumnus, 1988
PAYH Alumnus Honored for His Service
In 1984, Wallace Thompson found himself with a terminally ill father who could no longer care for him. His mother had always been absent from his life, and he found himself without a home and a life headed for trouble. Fortunately, PAYH was there to take him in, and Wallace finished the program having received the discipline and guidance he needed. In particular, Wallace remembered late PAYH staff member Bobby Dixon telling him “when you graduate, people will try to pull you down to their level; pull them up to your level instead.” After serving in the US Army from 1986-1989, Wallace became a deputy with the Toombs County Sheriff, where he was been employed ever since. This past month, the sheriff’s office honored Wallace with a plaque commemorating his 30 years of exemplary service to the citizens of Toombs County. He credits God and his time at the Paul Anderson Youth Home for making this possible, stating “There’s no way I would have achieved any of this without PAYH.”
Poachers’ Misfortune Becomes an Unexpected Blessing
Several hunters ran afoul (or perhaps we should say “afowl”) of the law when they exceeded the limit of 3 ducks per hunter. After being caught and ticketed, the Georgia DNR made the decision to donate the birds to PAYH rather than let them go to waste. Bryce and Caden spent the better part of a morning cleaning and prepping more than 50 ducks, which will soon become dinner for the young men.
Canoochee EMC Partners with PAYH
The Canoochee Electric Membership Corporation Foundation Board met last month and made the decision to award the Paul Anderson Youth Home a $1,000 grant. CEMC’s Jeremy Halligan presented PAYH’s Victoria Shuman with the check. The funds come from local EMC members’ small donations through the “Operation Round Up” program.
Pecan Harvest Competition
The PAYH young men spent a couple of days harvesting pecans from the many trees on our campus. As many of you know, they can be extremely competitive, and organized themselves into teams to see who could collect the most. In total, they gathered more than half a ton between them, with the winning team (Camden, Tommy, Lane, and Yovani) gathering 201 lbs. in a single day.