Thomas serves as an inspiration

Published 4:01 pm Thursday, September 20, 2018

Jerod Thomas, a former Academic All-American football player, told his inspirational story to students at Bell County High School recently.

Thomas’ story hit home for many students. At the end of his speech, students waited patiently to shake his hand or hug him and let him know what he said had meant something to them.

Thomas’ collegiate football career began at Marshall University, whose team played for the national championship in 1987. The team also won the Southern Conference championship in 1988.

Thomas spoke about the struggles he faced growing up in a small town and the challenges that his learning disabilities presented him with. He spoke about his childhood and family life, a story that resonated with many students; his home town of St. Alban’s, W.Va., could just as well have been Bell County.

At a young age, Thomas became an alcoholic. His alcoholism eventually turned into hard drug use, which ultimately cost him multiple chances at playing in the NFL.

In 2009, after getting sober, Thomas began a second career in substance abuse counseling. He began as a drug and alcohol counselor at WestCare Kentucy, a non-profit substance abuse program located in Ashcamp. Under his direction and leadership, the Boyle County Detention Center Substance Abuse Program became one of only a few licensed detention center facilities in the state.

Thomas currently serves as the president and CEO of the Shepherd’s House, Inc., a non-profit in Lexington. The Shepherd’s House is a long term residential and transitional living treatment center for men. The Shepherd’s House also has a prison substance abuse treatment center inside the Boyle County Detention Center and an intensive outpatient treatment center in Danville.

His story serves as an inspiration to many. Second chances happen and help is available.

This program was sponsored by the BCHS Youth Service Center. Any Bell County students struggling with drug or alcohol abuse themselves or within their family are encouraged to reach out to BCHS Family Resource and Youth Service Center.