Published on September 16, 2011
Mike came to my attention as a 12 year old with a burglary charge. The court challenged me to find an alternative to state incarceration since Mike had previous charges. After exhausting a search for a living arrangement because Mike’s home was not the best arrangement, a former teacher came forward. Mike had to steal to feed himself and his sister. Mrs. Mainous, Mike’s teacher at Patterson-Kennedy, volunteered to take Mike in temporarily until I could find a more permanent solution.
Mike was impressed that his teacher cared that much and would take him into her home. He especially liked the swimming pool, but also that he didn’t have to fend for himself, and that somebody was actually taking care of him.
Later, a foster home through Children’s Services Board, took Mike to Spring Valley at the home of Gary and Lynn Clark. Lynn was the mom-commander that Mike needed. Mike improved his academics because of Lynn’s insistence. Mike graduated high school and entered Wright State. Mike was not mature enough to handle that experience. Mike is not an overnight success and suffered a few bumps in the road.
One of the constants has been Building Bridges. I have pictures in my office of Mike on the basketball team and softball. I remember taking him to a Reds game, tickets donated. He and my son Brad were able to get to field level, when I couldn’t, to get autographs.
Mike now owns Mike’s Sewer and Drain Service which we use at the Building Bridges Group Home. I also use Mike’s service personally for a rental property. This is another example of the village that can save a child. Mike admits that those support systems saved him from a life of imprisonment. Our county saved a lot of money in that he is paying taxes, rather than being an expense. Also I call him a friend who will help this old bald fat guy anytime.
The Mainous and Clark families still maintain ties with Mike. We are all family.
* Mike got familiar with the sewer and drain business as a result of being employed at Roto Rooter by BB Board member Al Pierce.