Motivational speaker shares story with Sherman ISD students
SHERMAN, Texas (KXII) - Last week, Sherman high school students heard from an ex-athlete, sentenced to life in prison who is now a motivational speaker.
“Meth was a game changer, it grabbed ahold of me and I gave everything away for that drug my job, my home, my car, my savings account, my career, everything, I gave it away," Damon West said.
West said he grew up in a good home, went to University of North Texas and played quarterback on the football team.
He said he was working as a stock broker when everything changed for him, and he fell into drug addiction.
“I started committing a bunch of property crimes to fund my addiction. I started breaking in to peoples storage units, people’s cars, and eventually started breaking into peoples houses," West said.
He said the crimes were known as the Uptown Burglaries in Dallas.
In July 2008, after three years of committing these crimes, West said a Dallas SWAT team arrested him on an organized crime charge.
“Ten months later I went to trial in Dallas county and a jury gave me life in prison," West said. "He sentenced me to 65 years for my role.”
West said it all changed when he met a man named Mr. Jackson at the Dallas County Jail, who introduced him the metaphor of a coffee bean.
He said under heat and pressure like boiling water, a coffee bean can change the environment around it.
“The power is inside you just like when I went to that maximum security prison, the power was inside me not in the hands of the criminal justice system, not in the hands of the guards or other inmates, but it was inside me the whole time and I found out how to become that coffee bean inside a maximum security prison," West said.
He served just over seven years before being released by a parole board, and will be on parole for the rest of his life.
He said he hopes his story inspires Sherman students.
"You look at things like the Coronavirus, the election going on, the murder of George Floyd, the race riots that have gone on in this country, you look at those things and you say you know what I don’t control those things but I do control how I respond to that, " West said.
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