BAY COUNTY, Fla. - On February 1st, a man walked out the doors of the Rescue Mission and right across the eastern United States. After months of walking across America, Jim Downs is home and sharing the tales of his journey at the place where it all started.
A warm welcome complete with hugs and congratulations. Jim Downs, also known as "Big Jim" walked through the doors of the Rescue Mission around noon on Friday.
"By Jim coming back, the clients that are here get to see that it is possible to be successful if you complete out the program and keep that vision in front of you," said Program Vice President, Ricky Briggs.
Big Jim left the Rescue Mission back in February with a goal, to spread a message of hope and raise awareness about addiction. "When I walked out the front doors, I told Pastor Mitchell, I said if we reach one person it's worth it and he said yeah. We've done a lot more than that,"said Jim Downs. After struggling with addiction for 34 years, the program at the Rescue Mission helped Big Jim get clean.
He arrived in 2015 and just 16 short months later, made the journey of a lifetime across the eastern United States to the Canadian border. Not only did he complete this walk, but Friday marked a different milestone.
"This is an incredible day, I never thought I would see this day. Two years, being clean and sober," said Downs. The Rescue Mission changed Big Jim's life and now he plans to help others who struggle with addiction. Building more places like the Rescue Mission is exactly what Big Jim plans to do next. He's considering purchasing a church in Virginia and turning it into a Rescue Mission camp.
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