Michael Beck is a success story. He was born 30 years ago to a 14-year-old crack addict and spent the first few weeks of his life in the neonatal intensive care unit. He never knew his father and was raised by his grandparents in Ocala.
Despite being raised up in the church, Beck took a wrong turn and was arrested four times for drug possession and spent time in prison. Today, Beck returns to the jail in his role as assistant minister at his childhood church, St. Mark’s United Methodist Church. He facilitates a Christian 12-step program for the prisoners at the Marion County Jail. Beck is now planning to pursue a master’s degree in divinity studies.
Beck has organized Recover Ocala, an event scheduled at a city park on Oct. 2 which will offer resources for people struggling with addiction. He hopes that the coming together of different church ministries will present a cohesive solution for the community.
“When I was released from Marion County Jail, we had seven kids and we were homeless living in a motel. I had no idea of any kind of programs, it was just by the grace of God that we were able to overcome those circumstances. I saved up $30,000 to put down on a home. I went through the court system and fought for custody of all my kids.”
“We’ve seen a tremendous increase in substance abuse and the need for recovery,” said Lonnie Earnest, director of the Christian 12-Step Ministry in Ocala. “All we’re saying to the community is here are the resources to recovery. We are here to help you to become the person God meant you to be.”