March 30, 2018
Troy Howard walked into PACE in 2012 a broken man.
Troy was unemployed, homeless, addicted to cocaine and alcohol, and had been in and out of jail for a variety of minor charges. Although he owned a truck, Troy couldn’t go far for fear the police would arrest him for having a suspended license. Troy had nowhere left to go, except for a place where every person can get a second chance.PACE (Public Advocates in Community Reentry) is dedicated to serving those who are released from the criminal justice system and are ready to start living responsible, productive lives in society. In Troy’s case – like so many others with felony convictions – he just needed tools, knowledge, and support, plus a little faith in himself.
“Having to re-make yourself in your 40s isn’t easy,” Troy thought as he entered PACE. But he stayed committed, especially as PACE case managers helped train Troy for new opportunities while he applied for and received long overdue disability compensation from a previous work-related injury. As Troy received those disability checks each month, he was more motivated than ever. “I wanted to work full-time again, provide for myself, and never be dependent again,” he said.
To start on his journey toward financial independence, Troy first needed his license back. With guidance from PACE and persistence within himself, Troy paid his traffic tickets and completed a Relapse
Prevention program at PACE. With driver’s license in hand, Troy applied for and was accepted in C.R. England’s commercial driver’s license (CDL-A) program.
“I was so nervous, I felt I really had to convince C.R. England to give me a chance,” said Troy. “I kept telling myself over and over, ‘try to do it right, this time.’”
Troy completed his CDL-A driver training at C.R. England and is now a full-time licensed driver. Troy recently took a better paying job with better benefits and is working at HIRSCHBACH Motor Lines INC. He regularly sends pictures of his travels across the country to his PACE case manager. In addition, Troy completed all his prior sentencing requirements and has maintained a safe and sober lifestyle.
Troy’s journey is a success story, but as PACE case managers remind us, the journey is not always smooth and easy.
“We are proud of Troy for continuing to fight the feeling of just giving up and ‘returning to his old ways’,” said Michael, a PACE case manager. “That’s one of the reasons why it’s so critical to have agencies like ours that can offer so many resources to people for all their challenges and struggles. We are here to always provide support and better yet, a glimmer of hope.”
United Way of Central Indiana is proud to have PACE as one of its 85 agency partners. Each of our agencies provides services that align with our priority areas and contribute to United Way’s collective community impact.