As a young man, Brad Roberts stepped onto a road that would lead to death and destruction of a 20-year vicious cycle of drugs and prison. He accumulated 23 felonies and was sentenced to a total of 26 years in prison. Through the course of this 20-year cycle, Brad was incarcerated four different times for multiple years each time. He began to believe he would be in prison for life — the sum of his identity, a felon and a failure often dealing with depression and thoughts of suicide. His family remained in a constant state of fear and tears not knowing how to help.
Brad was arrested for manufacturing methamphetamines, as well as other drug-related charges. After spending time in jail, the courts attempted to release him to a treatment program while he awaited sentencing, however, Brad turned to drugs again and was kicked out of the program. He thought it best to run, which led to ten months of misery. At times, he felt the need to turn himself in, other times he wished he’d get caught and killed, while also having suicidal thoughts. He was so tired of hurting his kids and letting them down. While headed down that path of drug addiction and a struggle with depression that made matters worse, God was about to shine His light brightly into the dark chaos of Brad’s life. What Brad later realized is God meets us where we are — and that He did!
That night God laid it on Brad’s heart to call his Dad, who told him the mother of his kids was dying of lung cancer. Once again, he was not there for his kids. He broke down in tears and cried out to God, “Please, take my life or help me. I CANNOT DO THIS ANY MORE!” God heard his cries and helped. The next morning two sheriffs showed up. Brad headed towards a butcher block, not intending on harming anyone but hoping the officers would harm him by actually shooting and killing him! His hurting would finally end. As he reached for the knife, Brad physically felt God’s presence holding his arm back and plain as day heard him say, “Keep your eyes on Me and we will get through this!” Immediately, he felt an indescribable peace wash over him. He was hand-cuffed and taken to jail to begin his healing and begin his new life resurrected in Christ. One of the arresting officers told Brad he would pray for him and hoped he’d get his life together. From there, Brad began to be aware of God in his journey and it became quite apparent that God had a different plan for Brad’s life.
During his incarceration, Brad took advantage of every opportunity to change his life while discovering a personal relationship with Christ through the different people he met. When the correction’s department brought him to a minimum custody facility in Louisville, he met Gary Polsgrove with Second Hope Ministries. There he attended weekly classes, church and an adult bible fellowship. It was during this time, Brad learned of Christ’s love and the impact it was making with the trajectory of his life. Upon Brad’s release from the prison system, he made a decision to remain in Louisville living at the Second Hope House to continue his journey of being released from the shackles of life. Brad struggled with the decision of whether to return to his hometown, which is what he had always done in the past when released from prison. Brad was studying Abraham in the bible and it became clear that he needed to stay in Louisville having the example of God telling Abraham to leave his home and follow God and in turn God would fulfill Abraham’s life in a mighty way. For this reason, Brad stepped in faith and made a 6-month commitment of remaining in Louisville and trusting God.
The day Brad was released, he was amazed when Gary Polsgrove picked him up and embraced him with a big Hallelujah. Second Hope provided a grocery card, cell phone, bus pass, clothing and eventually employment. Through tears in Brad’s eyes, he couldn’t understand why someone would do all this for him. Even better, once they arrived at the Second Hope House, it was like a family reunion with some of the volunteers from the ministry all smiling, hugging Brad and rejoicing for his new freedom. Having never experienced this spiritual and emotional support, he knew he was exactly where God wanted him. Feeling guilty over his past actions, Brad finally understood what it meant when the volunteers said, “We didn’t know that Brad!” 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”
Brad became the house manager while living at Second Hope helping other men sort out their lives. Successfully completing the program at Second Hope, Brad met his future wife. Through a work program, Brad obtained his Plumber’s license. He married, had a baby and has made his life’s goal to change the heart of other men with drug addiction. Recently, he was hired at Second Hope as its first full-time employee managing two sober living homes. God has given him another chance allowing him to speak into men’s lives and providing them with leadership to turn their lives around too. Today, Brad is happily married, serving God, restored his broken relationships with his family and his three other children, and is blessed to share how the healing and freedom only comes from Christ.
“Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things shall be added to you.” — Matt. 6:33 And that’s what Brad seeks to do today.
After multiple failed marriages, losing his dream job as a UPS pilot, and losing his relationships with his family and children, Gary Polsgrove found himself living in his mother’s basement at the age of 38. He finally hit rock bottom in a courtroom after having been sentenced for failure to pay child support.
With a broken spirit and renewed relationship with Christ, Gary began to rebuild his life during his incarceration in a halfway house. He went to work at a delicatessen that earned him a minimal wage, and required he take a bus from downtown to the East-end of Louisville. During this incredibly humbling experience, he met his current wife, Minette, of 16 years. A pivotal moment came one morning when he was walking a few miles in a cold rain storm to his deli job, and he realized that even though he had lost everything, he was a rich man and had found true and lasting freedom in his soul.
Gary learned the truth that his anchor and source of strength was not himself, but Jesus Christ. It took him 10 months to become current with his child support and to begin slowly rebuilding broken relationships. Over time, Gary re-married, obtained a well-paying job, and re-established healthy relationships with his children. Gary became very passionate about sharing his story of hope and second chances in the belief that he could help other incarcerated men.
Today, Gary is happily married, enjoys relationships with all his children and grandchildren, has a successful real estate business, and loves going to jail to be with his friends.