SCOTT GAMMON Formerly incarcerated

Scott Gammon was in jail awaiting his eighth prison sentence when a volunteer called Bible study. He recalled not knowing why, but had a feeling he should attend, so he did.

“That night I went and the guy explained to me that heaven was a free gift and that I was a sinner, I couldn't save myself,” he said. “And that God is love and just and I needed to be punished for my sins. That night I was given the gift of eternal life.”

Today the 59-year-old Jacksonville man is drug-free and helping others. He works in a faith-based rehabilitation program for men still in Florida’s prisons.

That’s a long way from where Gammon began when, as a lonely preteen, he began abusing drugs and alcohol. By the age of 12, Gammon was using LSD daily.

In his high school years he went on to sell drugs, sticking with it because it made him feel popular and needed since everyone would come to him for their fix.

Gammon’s life changed drastically when at age 22, he found out his high school-aged girlfriend was pregnant. They got married and he soon realized he had a family to support.

That was when his life of crime took off.

He began forging his grandfather's checks to support his $1,000-a-day drug habit. It led to his downfall. In 1984, at 27 years old, Gammon began serving his first prison sentence at Desoto Correctional Institution.

However, his work-release program gave him the opportunity to sneak home to see his wife occasionally and continue selling and abusing drugs and alcohol.

It was a pattern of life that didn’t cease as Gammon continued to pile up arrests and eight separate trips to prison. His crimes ranged from forgery and grand theft to possession of drugs and burglary.

Gammon recalled his experience at his first correctional facility where race riots pitted whites against blacks. There were stabbings and sexual assaults. But Gammon was bigger than most and after a few fights, no one bothered him.

In fact, Gammon says being in prison only made him a better criminal. He would steal food from the kitchen, 36 egg sandwiches strapped to himself.

“I looked like a mummy!” he joked.

He was finally transferred to one correctional facility where he noticed that inmates regularly made their faith part of their day. Gammon said he immediately felt good things were to come and that this was where he needed to be.

It was there that Gammon attended a 12-step, faith-based program called Celebrate Recovery while he was in prison.

These days, Gammon is involved with faith-based rehabilitation in prisons throughout the state of Florida. He puts his heart and soul into programs such as Toastmasters, Kairos and Celebrate Recovery to help those currently incarcerated find hope and faith.

“Going into the prisons makes me stronger because it reminds me of where I came from,” he said. “I had two choices, to give in to defeat or to claim the victory of healing with Jesus.”

He is now in charge of re-entry and housing for LightHouse Ministry. Gammon volunteers at six different facilities and has also started Toastmasters programs at Baker and Lawtey correctional institutions. He teaches communication and leadership skills at four different institutions.

“That's what I’m doing with my life now,” said Gammon. “I’m dedicating to helping people. If I can make it after eight times, why can’t someone else with God.”


Created with images by AgnieszkaMonk - "book bible text" • RikkisRefugeOther - "SS_checkbook" • Alejandro Hernandez. - "Praying Hands HDR"

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