Walk a Mile in My Shoes

Fresh Start Ministries’ primary focus is to help those who are incarnated in jail as well as to ReEnter community life. We feel this is a great time to share our new series of testimonials from actual people making their own way back into society. 

The testimonies heard throughout the programs offered by Fresh Start Ministries, are stories of transformation, that of which could only happened through the grace of God.

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Hannah’s Story

Part 2 of 4

By doing so, realize that this is just one mile. They walk many more. Truly BEING ANOTHER just for a brief time fosters empathy, understanding, insight, and how one might impactfully help. It almost always wipes out criticism, hypocrisy, self-righteousness, disdain, and judgement. It’s really hard to view ourselves negatively like this; however, if we BECOME the receiver of these attitudes, we would less likely make others feel them!


Having thought a lot on how we treat and interact with others, I have realized that at some point we will all hit that “rock bottom” that so many in our lives are experiencing at this moment. May we treat those in need now how we one day want to be treated when the tide turns. Believe me, it does. When our name is called to go through the fire, may the firefighters called to assist with the blaze be brave and empathetic. May we rush to assist others in crisis with the same urgency we would want for our time of crisis by first responders.


Speaking of first responders, I was one for eight years up until recently. I was different, yet the same as so many running life’s race. I was born in Germany and grew up around all backgrounds of people – Germans, French refugees, US military stationed in Germany from all US states as well as other countries. Not far from the training base, I fell asleep most nights to gunshots and artillery. I am one of 14 siblings and am also a twin. Childhood had its traumas, but with the help of friends, siblings, and my mother, my teens turned into my twenties with me moving to Wisconsin and putting myself through college. 


I wanted to be a police officer to help those in moments of crisis — offering help that was never offered to me. This was fueled by my oldest brother who was a police officer in Mississippi until he lost his life to gun violence. I never lost focus and graduated along with my twin sister from college and the police academy. After entering the police force, I mastered many specialties to give myself a much bigger platform from which to help others.


I became part of the Crisis Intervention Team, became an Accident Investigator, an Evidence Technician, a Field Training Officer, and a Drug Recognition Officer. I was on fire helping so many people. I had found my calling. My passion. My lifelong mission. I was fulfilled. I felt purposeful and satisfied. That is until my “house” caught fire and it was me in crisis. I hid the flames and pretended I was okay. But I was not okay. Eventually, after developing panic disorder, anxiety, depression, and PTSD from the many horrific scenes I witnessed and processed, I hit my rock bottom. 
Having built the walls around my heart so not even I could get in, and not knowing how to be real and ask for help, I planned my suicide. I was stopped by my twin and caring coworkers and underwent a psychiatric hospital stay and intense therapy. My city and department went through hell the following summer with one of my partners being shot and our city looted with riots and burning. The anti-police culture took a toll on officer’s morale. 

Part 3 coming tomorrow…….

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