Floyd 3One of the projects I did earlier this year (April 4th) was putting on an art exhibit.  I wanted to post some of the stories.  Floyd is the founder and Executive Director of A New Way of Life.  For someone who was the most reluctant about doing the photography class, it turns out he had one of the best eyes for it.  We only exhibited the photos closely tied to his story.  But if you ask him nice, he might show you his beautiful nature shots.  The full Telling Our Stories gallery can be seen here

Floyd Wimbush

Executive Director of A New Way of Life

Pain led me down the path of addiction.  I was an emergency assistance operator in Michigan City.  My older brother died in 1989 and something inside me broke.  I opened up a log one day and it was the day the call was made that he was killed.  I asked the chief for a vacation.  He gave me a week.  I went to Seattle and stayed out there ten years.  My addiction got worse as I got around the wrong people.  I started carrying guns, started throwing up gang signs, started manufacturing and selling crack cocaine.

Floyd 4In 2000, I found myself at Good News Mission.  Life was rough.  I was still in addiction.  I was living with a young lady who got fed up with my addiction and put me out.  Good News Mission was more of a work camp back then.  Two days a week, for four hours, to job search, while the rest of the time you did work around the building.  My objective was to get a job and get back on my feet, but I wasn’t able to do that here because it takes more than four hours a week to find a job.

I left there and ended up staying on the streets of downtown.  All I carried was two pairs of pants, two shirts, and one pair of underwear.  I came down here and hung out.  Downtown seems to be colder than anywhere else in the city.  I was still in my addiction so I was drinking a little bit.  Thirteen years ago, out in the streets, nowhere to go.

Behind City Market, that was the hang out.  You don’t dare hang out there now.  I did my begging outside of the City Market.  I picked up used cigarette butts for smokes.  There also used to be a Burger King.  We used to wait there for them to bring out their waste buckets to go through them to get stuff to eat.  There used to be a dumpster that sat near there.   It was my sleeping spot, drinking spot, bathroom spot.  I hid my clothes there.  After a couple days of surviving behind the dumpster and on the street, I decided to get clean.

Floyd 5This would be October 22, 2000. A friend asked me if I was a veteran.  I did four years in the Army (1980-1984).  So he told me I needed to get out to the VA hospital.  After the VA hospital, they housed us at Harbor Lights.  In 2001 they moved us across the street to Lucille Rains.  I stayed there three years and got married.  In 2006, pain drove me to relapse when I got a divorce.  I started drinking and doing drugs again, but I was in church.

One day I rode up and down Washington Street, staring at the Salvation Army, until I finally went in.  I stayed there a year.  Moved out and got an apartment at Washington Arms.  It’s an abandoned field now.  I stayed up all night, reading my Bible.  I was in Romans.  After I read chapter 12, I laid down with verses 1-2 stuck in my mind.  The Holy Spirit spoke to me in a dream.

From where I came from, I broke through a veil and there was a door.  A light was shining, like the sun.  There was new life and the Spirit said “Feed my sheep.  Take care of your brothers.  Renew their minds.”  A New Way of Life.  I just started writing, putting the plan down on paper right then and there.

There was a for sale sign on this building.  I got the number.  The real estate agent, a married couple, came out and we walked through it.  I shared my vision with them and they said “we ought to introduce you to the owner.”

We met on a Sunday, after church, and I met Mary Howard.  I presented my plan to them in the community room.  She jumped up and said “we’re going to need beds.”  That was the birth of A New Way of Life.

“This has helped me a lot.  I really didn’t like taking pictures or having people take pictures of me.  Now I’m just going with the flow.”
***

The Telling Our Stories Exhibit was presented at Fletcher Place Arts and Books in April 2013.  The full gallery can be seen here.  The stories presented include:

Maurice Broaddus

Laditra Lee

Popcorn

Floyd Wimbush, Founder and Executive Director of A New Way of Life