TUPELO, Miss. (WCBI) – A new school year means a new semester of activities and lessons at Tupelo’s Salvation Army.
Marie Parker helps plan the events. She plays a vital role at the Salvation Army, but not that long ago, her life was on a different, dangerous path.
“In 2004, I was on drugs, seriously addicted to drugs,” Parker said. “I found myself homeless, living behind the Belden Truck Stop. One morning I woke up and God pointed me in the direction of the Salvation Army.”
Marie arrived at the Red Shield Lodge, where she began a new chapter in her life. She went from being friendless, homeless and hopeless, to kicking her crack cocaine addiction, getting a job at a landscaping company and eventually, working various positions at the Salvation Army.
“Had it not been for the Salvation Army being here when they were, I probably would not be here today,” she reflected.
Marie even went back to school, earning her Associates degree. Now, she is human resources director and secretary to Maj. Sue Dorman.
“One of our slogans, many years ago, was ‘changing one life at a time,” Maj. Dorman said. “And that’s one life, and because of that life being changed, she can help change another life.”
Marie is able to connect with those coming to the Salvation Army, feeling that they have no hope and have hit rock bottom.
She understands that some choose to live on the streets, but not everyone wants to be homeless.
“There are a lot of people here now, simply because of a streak of bad luck,” Parker said. “They lost their job, their home and they’re working and trying to build themselves back up. You gotta have faith and you gotta keep putting one foot in front of the other and don’t give up and put your trust in God and your trust in people who are willing to help you.”
Marie says her story is proof positive that there is not only hope, but also victory for those who are willing to ask for help.