Working on a cure
by Jim Ruth, Bradley County Sheriff
Mar 09, 2014 | 633 views | 0 0 comments | 30 30 recommendations | email to a friend | print
I bumped into one of my old adversaries the other day. A few decades ago he was a robber and burglar. I was a Cleveland Police Department detective at the time.

This guy operated like a fox and was hard to catch. He was the suspect in a number of crimes, but eluded me for several years. He was careful not to leave any evidence linking him to a crime.

One day a BOLO (be on the look out) alert came over the radio of a robbery that had just occurred. A description of the vehicle was given and I immediately thought of this guy I had been trying to catch.

I knew where he lived and what road he would have to take to get to his home, if it was him. I quickly drove to a place I wouldn’t be seen and waited for a short time. Sure enough he came barreling down the road past me. I stopped him at gunpoint and recovered a big part of the loot from the robbery out of his car.

He was convicted and sent to state prison to serve out his sentence. The good news is this very dangerous outlaw became a changed man and a contributing member of society.

Probably in his 60s now, he has been reaching out to young people for a number of years, and is now showing them how to find the right path to the good life.

We are no longer adversaries, but we have the same objectives, doing things to make a better life for those that follow along behind. His smile, hearty handshake and his words of goodwill tell me we are now friends.

I am always encouraged when I see a story of redemption such as this one. I wish my old adversary and now friend much success and happiness as he seeks to redeem others.

There are people involved in ministry groups who visit the jail regularly, reaching out to those who have fallen from the right road that most of us were taught to walk as children. One such group is “Anchor Point Foundation.”

Anchor Point is a Christ-centered interdenominational ministry that focuses on recovering those who are chemically-dependant.

They do this by securing for them long-term, Christ-centered rehabilitation. They require accountability and support for the addicted to become involved back in their community. They teach a Christ-centered recovery for life curriculum as they build on relationships with inmates. They also provide support for the spouse and extended family of those in rehab. They are reaching the addicted “where they are.”

If an inmate needs and wants help he or she can through the courts benefit from this long-term rehab and follow-up ministry of Anchor Point.

Anchor Point ministry has a phenomenal success rate and they are a nonprofit group dependant on gifts and donations to pay the bills that are incurred by this worthy organization. They have fundraisers as well

I very much appreciate this organization and especially our local volunteer residents who work this program every week. It is people helping people and it is working. I appreciate every volunteer that ministers to our inmates.

Those working with addicts and criminals have to have some special gifts. Not everyone is cut out for the work. They certainly have to have love for people and a strong desire to see lives changed.

The state parole board paroles a good number of people to Bradley County. There are both federal and state parolees that choose to live here. There are a number of these whom have never committed violent crimes.

Over the years there has been many who have returned home to live a quiet life. They have been successful in their jobs and others have started some thriving businesses.

Folks in the community have forgiven and have quietly welcomed them back into their world. That is as it should be.

On the other hand there are far too many who return from prison as better trained criminals. This type of criminal is unwillingly to discipline themselves and their actions to ways that are acceptable to the world in which they live.

This thief, burglar or otherwise thug is like a perpetual young teenager. He knows everything and he spends his waking time on how he is going to immediately gratify his every whim and desire. This individual goes through life with a chip on his shoulder. All those like him are the ones in and out of prison.

Ask them what they are going to be doing in five years or even one year and you will find that they don’t even know about tomorrow.

Once in a blue-moon you will run across a young man involved in criminal activity who has the brightness in his eye that separates him from the pack. He will come to his senses and return to the ways of his parents. He will assume the role of husband, father and son, along with becoming a contributing member of our community.

There are people in Bradley County like those of Anchor Point ministry that are ready to help. Those needing help must to open to be helped by reaching out

I end this article by showing my support for Anchor Point and their ministry by encouraging you to attend the free concert featuring the Nashville Praise Symphony. This concert will be at the Conn Center on the Lee University campus on Saturday, March 29 at 6:30 PM. It is a Love Offering Concert benefiting Anchor Point Foundation and their much needed ministry.

Thanks for reading.