“I got a taste of what it is to feel good about myself, and once I started feeling good about myself, I couldn’t go back to that old life.”
If it breaks, William Terrell fixes it. That’s his job at Kitchen K restaurant in downtown St. Louis. But that’s also the story of his life.
William spent 24 years as a homeless person, first in his hometown of Chicago and later in St. Louis. He lived in abandoned buildings; he drank and did drugs; he stole money. In 1998, he came to St. Patrick Center’s Shamrock Day Program, but wasn’t sure what he was looking for. “Someone at St. Patrick Center knew I had it in me to get right, but at the time, I didn’t know I had it in me.”
William remembers the night he decided to get clean and sober for good. He had been released from jail earlier in the day, and was sleeping in yet another abandoned building. “I said to myself: this is it. I can’t do this anymore.” William battled his demons to get clean and sober. He learned kitchen operations during his 11 months with McMurphy’s Grill job training program. He joined the t. Patrick Center Alumni Club, where he says coordinator Tyrone Darris was tough on him, but more importantly, never gave up on him. Today, William can’t imagine not being at the Alumni Club. “Even though I have my own place and my own job, I’m still back up there every day no matter what.” In fact, William now teaches Alumni Club classes and facilitates support groups.
William has been clean and sober for three and a half years. He has his own place to live and loves his job at Kitchen K. “My life today is beautiful.” And that, friends, may be this maintenance man’s greatest repair job.