Imprisoned No More- A Redemption Story

Feb 14, 2024 | by Hannah Harris

There are moments in life when many people ask, “How did I get here?" Gary, asked himself this question when he was sitting in a prison cell for nearly 6 years from series of one bad decision to the next. “I grew up on the streets. I couched hopped from one family member to the next.” Growing up in the state of Missouri Gary, the oldest of 4, found himself a young boy with not much parental guidance, his mother was a single mom just barely hanging on.  By the age of 13, after living from couch to couch, Gary found refuge in his grandmother who decided to take on raising him.

 His teen years were rough, rough in the sense where Gary found a new best friend, alcohol. Drinking and partying is what he liked to do, which led to trouble making in his local area. By 18 years old Gary was facing two roads that would change the trajectory of his life. Go to prison or join the military. So, military it was. “The military was awesome. Some of the best years of my life. I served overseas in Scotland working on submarines as an electrician for 3 years. Incredible experience.” After 3 years of service Gary made his way back to the home base of Missouri where he was reminded of his old self which inevitably, went back to old habits. “My life consisted of working, partying, hanging out with the wrong crowed… I was getting back into trouble.”

It wasn’t too short after leaving the military Gary had his first child, soon found himself on a motorcycle drunk, and going in and out of prison became his new norm. Gary was also in and out of relationships. 3 failed marriages led to brokenness in his life and his 4 children’s lives.

After 5 DUI’s, prison was Gary's new home for the foreseeable future. “I got in a bad motorcycle accident, I was drunk driving, and was in a coma. I had a massive brain injury. When I got out of the coma, they brought me straight to prison.”

During his time behind bars, Gary had time to reflect. “I met the Lord in prison. In 2008 I walked out of my cell and dropped to my knees praying to God… I’m sick and tired of this. Help me get out of this hole.” Gary always knew about God and that He existed, but never let God transform his life.

“My grandma was the one who told me about Jesus…it was always in the back of my mind. So, in this moment, I knew I needed Him,” says Gary.

Things started to change for Gary, all while in prison. He graduated from a 2-year junior college the prison offered, got his degree, and even mended relationships with his children. “Because of God I have a great relationship with my kids. Some of them even know the Lord now too.”

After being released from prison in 2012, Gary started to take his relationship with the Lord seriously. Diving into the bible, learning, seeking… and transforming. “When I got out, my old life tried to come back… I met someone who was bad news, I stayed away. I wasn’t going back.” Gary quit everything, drinking, partying, surrounding himself with the wrong people. Gary wanted more of Jesus, and this led him to applying to Charis Bible College in Woodland Park, Colorado. “I listened to Andrew Wommack in prison. I learned a lot from him. So, when I got out, I wanted to learn more about the bible. I knew the Lord was calling me there.”

Moving to Colorado, Gary didn’t have a plan, money, job, or place to stay. On-campus housing was too expensive for him to afford, which ultimately left Gary homeless. Gary sought help and began communicating with local nonprofits which soon led Gary to the footsteps of The Salvation Army. “I have been working with the case managers through their veteran program. They gave me a house, a place to stay… and volunteer opportunities.” This isn’t the end all be all for Gary, his plan is to save up and move out on his own. “God is blessing me over and over. I am volunteering, saving money to get my own apartment.” The Colorado Springs Salvation Army’s mission is to meet human need without discrimination. No matter one’s background, the belief that everyone deserves a second chance, third chance… and dare we say more chances, best depicts Christ’s love for us.

 For Gary, The Salvation Army and their veteran services has changed the course of his life. “The Salvation Army has given me my life. It’s life. Without The Salvation Army who knows where I would be. They provided me a place to live, someone to help me get back on my feet. I receive meals, and there are so many loving people… the best hands-on veterans services.”

Gary is reminded of the day he fell to his knees in prison. Knowing where he came from and how far he has come. The beauty of second chances with Jesus is that you are allowed to dream. Gary’s dream is to one day become a pastor to share the love of Jesus to others and to eventually own his own land someday, right by the mountains.

For veterans, or anyone in need, that’s what The Salvation Army does. We provide second chances, resources, and the love of Jesus! All you have to do is reach out to us!

Recent Stories

Get Involved

Subscribe to receive more stories, directly in your inbox!


A gift to The Salvation Army helps someone in your community.

Give Now



Do Good in your community

Find Worship

Join us throughout the week for worship, fellowship, Bible study, meals, community service and fun.