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A home for George: Former corrections officer finds home at local nonprofit | Together We Rise

"I made a mistake. And when you make a mistake, it's left up to you -- myself -- to correct."

SAN ANTONIO — Home is more than a roof over a head for those fortunate to have one. It's a comfort; a sense of security that prepares you for the world beyond its walls.

In George's life, the doors were open during a period he was searching for community service opportunities -- not for time spent in prison, but for his work inside one.

"I worked as a correctional officer for 22 years, and I found myself on the wrong track," George said. "And that judge, he wasn't nice. But because he wasn't nice, he made me strong. Because I know in his mind, I wonder, did he say, I'm just another dirty officer, I'm just another person -- another criminal?"

"No, I made a mistake, George said." And when you make a mistake, it's left up to you -- myself -- to correct."

Eventually, he found Shannette Mitchell, owner of a bail bond company she inherited from her father and the founder of the nonprofit in the same building.

"He had went to several other agencies, but he did not feel like he was treated in a very respectful way," Mitchell said. "He felt disrespected by younger staff that was kind of ordering him around, and he said he was not even able to do some of the duties that they were mandating of him at the time."

"It was like, 'get the broom.' And I'm like, 'you going to ask me, am I physically able to do a mop and broom?" George said. 'Well, that's what you're going to do."

"He's older, and they didn't show concern or ask if he was able to do that task," Mitchell said.  

"Me as a black man, I may have big lips, but I don't kiss anybody's rear end," George said.

"We're in close proximity of the larger agency where he initially was looking, so he stopped by and he gave me the same story," Mitchell said. "And I said, 'OK, I have something I can do for you.'"

"This is the last place I came," George said. "And they showed true love -- bona fide love."

"It's a great program ran by Miss Mitchell," George added. 

And once his community service was complete, he never left. He began his own landscaping business and maintains the same place that helped him in his time of need.

"And at this point in my life, I'm still now her yardman," George said. "I call myself the yard doctor, and she gave me work. That's great, just like, even though they have a full pantry, they have all the things that can help people or send you to the proper places you need to go get the assistance that you need."

"I think this is a great thing and I'm proud to be here," George said.

A nonprofit with no intention of trying to change or fix, but with every hope of showing whoever volunteers their time, the life they deserve to live is on the other side of who they are.