Brett - Rohnert Park, California
Entered on May 8, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: family, hope, setbacks

There was this kid who messed up. He had a great family and a great future in soccer if he could only stay the course. The problem was he couldn’t. He wouldn’t. He didn’t. He got mixed up with some other kids of a similar nature. Drugs and alcohol played a critical part in their upcoming actions. He was caught by a doorstep video camera as he broke into a house. This incident was just the head of a long festering sore. The group was found to have stolen, and been in possession of, thousands of dollars of electrical equipment from other households.

After hundreds of meetings with lawyers, District Attorneys, and courts, he lay on his bed with a dead weight and a blinking red light glowing through his left sock. For months he went to school, work, then home. It was slow, but he got through it. Like I said, he had a strong family. For four years he has done everything right. Whether due to his morals or because he felt he had to is another question. He has a steady girlfriend and an All-American plaque engraved with the name Alex hanging on the wall. After a lot of work, Alex is now pursuing his soccer dreams with a clean slate. But I know what people say, “Once a criminal, always a criminal.”

Mack was a model citizen. He was a hard worker with a great sense of humor, an all around great guy. As a graduate from the fire academy at the Santa Rosa Junior College, he went on to work for the California Department of Forestry fighting fires and saving lives every day. Whether Mack would admit it or not, he had a drinking problem. After a night out on the town, Mack safely arrived home by taxi and decided to take a walk. When he got back, in a drunken stupor, he stumbled into his house, went to his bed, and passed out. He woke up as police cuffed him and told him to watch his head on his way into the car. He had stumbled into the wrong house and lay down in a ten-year old child’s bed. Fortunately for him, the boy was at a sleepover, or it would have been much worse. He attended his Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, put the event behind him, and continued to save lives every day. By putting down the bottle he may have saved his own. But I know what people say, “Once a drunk always a drunk.”

The Alex and Mack made monumental mistakes. They are not necessarily bad people. They had their problems, but hey, don’t we all? Their reputations may be tarnished, but so far they have done everything right. However, life is a long game and plenty more choices will be made. Will they make the right ones? What if I said the two are brothers, my brothers? I believe people can change. I have to.