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Organizations continue to hammer message of hope at Vera Francis Hall Park

Groups, law enforcement fight scourge of opioid addiction from all sides

Posted 3/28/24

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – Terry said he spent 13 years in prison before he met Nail It to the Cross Ministries, a 12-step addiction and recovery group that incorporates Christian teachings.  …

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Organizations continue to hammer message of hope at Vera Francis Hall Park

Groups, law enforcement fight scourge of opioid addiction from all sides


Posted

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – Terry said he spent 13 years in prison before he met Nail It to the Cross Ministries, a 12-step addiction and recovery group that incorporates Christian teachings. 

"I did some stupid things. But by the grace of God, I have come to this group and my life has forever changed," Terry said. 

Doug said he's been clean for a year. He says the ministry's counseling and resources have been a tremendous help, and he took his message of sobriety to the fourth Hammer and Hope program last Friday at Vera Francis Park. 

"Back in the day, I was a pothead. I did cocaine, pills and drank a lot. The grace of God came into my life and changed everything," Doug said. 

Both Terry and Doug were thankful to be clean and for the friendships they made in the ministry, which Tommy Johnson founded last year. 

"Because Jesus set me free from drugs, I have a heart for people still bound by them," Johnson said. 

"I know how it is. It's hell. It's torment. I want to save people from that torment," he said. 

Johnson shared his life's story of being born and raised in Clay Hill, succumbing to alcohol addiction and falling in and out of jail, which led him to his "deathbed." He was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (cancer of the blood and bone marrow) and drank a "fifth of liquor every day" (about one-half gallon). He said he was cured by letting God into his life. 

"It was a miracle. How else would you describe it?"

Nail It to the Cross Ministries was just one organization at Hammer and Hope, and those stories were just a handful.

Clay Behavioral Health, The Way Medical Clinic, Florida's Poison Control, and Clay County Fire and Rescue were part of the 19 community and 18 law enforcement agencies offering services at the park

"The intent is to let our community know we take drugs and drug addictions seriously," Sheriff Michelle Cook said.

She started Hammer and Hope three years ago. Since then, there have been more than 630 drug-related arrests in Clay County. 

"We can't arrest our way out of a problem. We have to give people a pathway to hope and a hand," she said.