The stern-faced magistrate stared at eighteen-year old Josh Lee in his closed- quarters room. With all the charges the young man faced, the Texarkana, Texas judge could have put him in prison for several years.
The future looked bleak. Of course, the past hadn’t been pretty either.
His mother married the man who became his stepfather when Josh was two. The man was an alcoholic and used drugs.
“The only way my dad knew how to act was physical. It went from a spanking here and there, to every day when I was little.” Later the abuse came from blows from broomsticks and electrical cords. Josh still carries some of those scars today.
It left him with a lot of questions. “Why would someone adopt me and treat me this way? Why doesn’t my mother stop this?”
As he got older his anger erupted in drugs, violence and crime. “By the time I was 15, I was on the streets and started doing drugs really bad,” he says.
Although his grades had been excellent, he lost all motivation in that direction. At the beginning of the 10th grade he was arrested for the first time on drug charges. He was kicked out of school in Texas, but allowed to go back his senior year.
At home the situation worsened. He wasn’t there often and when he was the violence level of the fights with his father escalated. “My dad, he was a rough guy,” he says simply.
But the judge offered an alternative that day in court: he could enlist in the US Marines. The choice was easy. Best of all, his record was erased.
Transformation #1—The Marines
He left home with the insult of his father stinging him. “The last words I heard my dad say to me were, ‘I’ll see you in a few weeks because you always screw everything up.’”
Once in the Marines, he could have continued in the direction he was going, but strangely they revolutionized his life. He excelled. Continue reading