Southaven man turns life around; helps others through intense program

By Chip Washington - bio | email

SOUTHAVEN, MS (WMC-TV) - A Mid-South man who spent his youth on the streets as a criminal is now working to take back our neighborhoods.

David Vincent has a story to tell about life, consequences and choices.  His began at the age of four, when stealing caused his family to be kicked out of the trailer park they were living in.

That was just the beginning.

"I was eight or nine years old when I started breaking into houses," he said. "Fourteen years old when I broke in a business through a roof. There was a lot of drug abuse thru the years."

By the time he was 22, Vincent, a self described thief, arsonist and safecracker, was wanted in four states. After 30 arrests and 18 felonies, he prayed for a change while sitting in his cell.

"Got down on a cold, dark floor of that lockdown cell, and I cried out to God and asked God to have mercy on me," he said.

In October of 1999, Vincent started a bible study in his Southaven home.  After bouncing around for a few years, he founded the Warriors Center.

Landon Clay, the director of Warriors Center, says its all about changing lives.

"We reach out to men and women who are suffering from homelessness and drug addiction," Clay said. "We believe God gets in the gutter with anybody where they're at, and pulls them out."

Former gang member and drug dealer Keaton Rice graduated from the program, and now works with it.

"If he can do this for me, if he can change my life, my way of thinking and put love in my heart, then God can do that for anybody," Rice said.

Vincent says the 65 bed, one year program is run like a military boot camp, and there are strict bible based rules each man has to follow before graduating.

While in the program, the men work in exchange for care.  Vincent is proud of the Warriors Center's 78 percent success rate, saying everyone deserves a second chance, no matter the circumstances.

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