A Christmas Story

Posted December 21, 2015

Christmas, my child, is love in action. Every time we love, every time we give, it’s Christmas.

-Dale Evans

Kathy had just lost everything. I mean every personal possession and her dignity. She had been addicted to drugs and alcohol since she was fifteen years old. During that time, she held many jobs. She lived in many places. She had lost two children through the courts and was about to lose two more that she didn’t even know she was going to have. She was living with a drug dealer and trying to take care of her children while being addicted and sometimes working a real job. Those real jobs in nightclubs allowed he to stay on drugs. Her boyfriend was in jail. His friend was also making methamphetamine in their house. Kathy was in the back of the house with her children when her so called friend made a mistake. The front of the house exploded and took the house and all of what remained of Kathy’s attempt at a life.

As she pondered the easy way out she was taken into custody. The police took her in and charged her with accessory to running a Meth lab and manslaughter. It was the right thing to do. The house was in her name and she knew what was going on. Deep down she hated it. She loved her children but she was sick. She had been addicted over half her life and did not know a way out. Substance abuse is the only disease where we prescribe “bottoming out” as one of the cures.

The courts remanded her to eight years in a state prison. As she began her sentence she discovered she was pregnant with twins. She served six months of her time, still being very sick from her addiction. She was released early to have her children. Then along came the hope; a sign from above. The Salvation Army has one of the few homeless operations for women in Memphis. It is a holistic two year program. The program teaches everything from life skills to parenting skills, to learning to accept spirituality and faith into your life. It also allows children to live with their moms. They took Kathy and two of her children into the program. It worked!!!!

Once the program is complete they try to place women in jobs and homes of their own. This is where it gets really hard. Who is going to hire a felon?

Champion Apparel and Awards will. We at Champion have a had a successful “Late Bloomers” program for over eight years. We hire ex-offenders. The training teaches journeyman screen printers, trophy makers, embroiderers, so and so forth, you get the idea. Kathy got up at 4 a.m. every morning for six months and rode the bus fifteen miles to make it to work on time. She was surprised by the work environment.

The Champion team does not judge; they openly accept. Kathy excelled with the help of the Champion team, the Salvation Army, and her mother, who never lost faith in her. She was even able to rent and furnish a house from a sympathetic owner. Employees of Champion gave her furniture and accessories to furnish her new home. Kathy saved money for four years and, with the help of Champion’s customer, Mt. Moriah Auto Sales, was able to purchase a good used car at a great price.

On December 1st, four years after the horrible tragedy, Kathy is now clean and sober and living in a new home with two of her children. The two older children live just a mile away and are now in her life.

Kathy is going to make it with the help of her Champion team.

This is truly love in action and what Christmas is all about, love in action.

We at Champion wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Love,

Mike Bowen

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