Kenneth Blackwell

Before I got into addiction, I was an ordinary person. I went to four years at Appalachian State. I had a minor career with the Dallas Cowboys football team. I was just trying to always stay in the limelight.

The lowest point of my life was incarceration and drug addiction. Actually, I think [incarceration] saved my life. I was in drug addiction for 17 years. It gave me time to readjust my thinking and put my priorities in order — self-examination and what I wanted to do with my life. I had lost so much time — it took so much from me. I wanted to build a relationship with my daughter, I wanted to build a relationship with my family and I wanted to have a stronger bond with God.

I have worked at the thrift shop for 10 years. I started here doing community service. I had just been released from prison, and it was a part of my probation. They were impressed with the way that I [worked], so I put in an application, and they called me back and hired me.

I’m more interested now in the ministry — helping people. Whether that be physically, spiritually, mentally — always trying to build them up. I encourage them.