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NEWS 3 NEIGHBORS: From lost hope to cherishing life

COLUMBUS, GA (WRBL) - It's sometimes hard to measure the true impact local charitable organizations are having on individual lives.

In this News 3 Neighbors, you're going to hear one man's story of how Valley Rescue changed him from a man who wanted to die to someone who cherishes the new life God has given him.

For Hank Wettering, life's pathway has been really tough. He painfully remembers his childhood in New Jersey.

"At nine years old, I started smoking marijuana, drinking. The first drug I ever took was alcohol. By the time I was 11 years old I was introduced to LSD and cocaine," says Wettering, the Valley Rescue Mission Servant Leader.

Hank's addiction almost got him killed. 

"I was involved in a few devastating car wrecks.  I was drunk both times. I don't know how I walked away from either one," Wettering said. 

Five years ago this month, Hank was wringing his hands at the end of his rope.

"I had given up hope on everything. I had no more desire to live. I wanted to die," says Wettering. 

He was living in Phenix City at the time and came up a plan. "So I set it up to have the police come to my house. I pointed a rubber rifle at them and forced them to shoot me. One bullet was fired and it hit me right in the jaw.  And from 20 feet away with a 40-caliber pistol nobody should still be breathing, but here I am. God had other plans," he said. 

Hank would spend over three-and-a-half years in prison following that shooting. After getting out, life got no better. Homeless, he turned to a place that offered hope.

"I wound up at Valley Rescue Mission with the clothes on my back," he said. 

During a chapel service, Hank found out about the mission's drug recovery program in Hamilton called
Crossroads. He applied and was accepted.

"It's hard to explain in words the feeling that overcomes you when you get up there. It's a very anointed place. The Holy Spirit is there, is present there, and you feel it immediately," Wettering said. 

The nine-month program is saturated with Bible study. Its success rate is better than the national average. Hank completed the program, is drug-free, and is a servant leader at Valley Rescue on Second Avenue.

He helps process new men coming into the program.

"I share with them the hope that I now have, going from being homeless and hopeless and wanting to die to just wanting to serve God and wanting to live just for one day," he says. 

Hank has signed up to be a servant leader at Valley Rescue for a year.

Just one incredible example of the life-changing work being done in our community.

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