Newberry County, SC (WLTX) - An ex-criminal is now using the past of his pain to move others forward.
“I was introduced to crack cocaine by my stepfather, um and from 16 to about 19, uh found myself in the streets using crack cocaine,” Terrence Gallman explained.
Gallman has had a rough start to life.
“I knew everybody in the street. Everybody who sold and used and I was able to make a lot of money really fast and I did not stop until I was indicted,” Gallman said.
He was sentenced to 27 years for federal drug charges and served 12.
“Prison is very dark, very cold, I mean it's almost indescribable in the realness,” Gallman said of his past.
While there, he went back to the faith his grandfather instilled in him when he was younger.
“So you know it came back to me at that time to just be thankful and to want to do better,” Gallman said of his faith.
He says his faith helped him cope with the misery of being locked up and the guilt of his bad decisions.
“And through going to church in the prisons and through meeting the guys who you know seem to be living beyond the walls because of their spiritual life and their faith life, those are the guys you want to get connected with in order to survive,” Gallman said. “I was able to build on those relationships and build my faith to sustain.”
When he was released in 2008, he wanted to use his faith to help young men avoid the journey he had taken.
“Made me want to get out here and start to you know help young men understand what it's like to go through the justice system and with that life of faith that I came to live and to know if I could introduce that to them now, it could prevent them from waiting after getting to prison before they discover that,” Gallman said.
He's the director of the Challenge 4 Change Initiative. He’s written several books and is currently working on a play and movie to expose the judicial system and what must be done to help people from ending up behind bars.
Larry Sligh works with Gallman. He says Gallman has been a great role model and inspiration .
“By the time I was in high school every one of my neighborhood friends were in jail, like they were all gone before I could realize what was really going on,” Sligh said of his past experiences. “I don't want to see that happen to all these young men.”
Sligh says working with Gallman has motivated him to give back to his community.
“I think you want to use your faith to stay out of them four walls,” Gallman said of his life.
Gallman works with organizations, churches and individuals to bring more people closer to God and out of prison.
“So part of me starting an organization the Challenge 4 Change Initiative was to take the initiative to challenge people to try and create this change that I feel we could reach our young people with,” Gallman explained.
Gallman's story is getting national attention. He was featured in renowned pastor Billy Graham's series "My Hope."
For more information about his movement, please visit: http://justinform.info/