By Gary Redfern
5:47 PM PDT, June 19, 2012
Those caught in the maelstrom of substance abuse may wish they could reach out for help, yet often do not because they cannot or will not. Sometimes the helping hand is right there, it just must be grasped. It takes a literal leap of faith — putting your life in someone’s hands. When it happened to Norman Chandler and he was ready, he knew whom to trust. It was his longtime friend Mike Johnson, founder of Turning Point Ministries in Holtville.
Johnson and his ministry became the catalysts that allowed Chandler to finally make a stand and emerge from the tumult of a wasting life. It saved his life and his soul. Today, Chandler, 43, is that hand for many others in a way he may never have expected.
“He has a lot of compassion,” says Helen Layton, a member of the Turning Point board of directors, whose son has benefitted from Chandler’s guidance.
Chandler is able to do that because after being one of the men whose life was turned around by Johnson and Turning Point in 2004, he joined the team and became supervisor of the ministry’s men’s home in 2007. If all that seemed a whirlwind of change, it became even more so when Mike Johnson passed away in December 2010. Chandler was named director and pastor, and everything he had gone through suddenly became major assets.
“He cares about the men,” Layton adds about the men who come to Turning Point for help. “He wants them to do well. You see him get attached to the men. He has a firm hand and that’s what they need.”
Turning Point was formed by Johnson, himself a recovering substance abuser, in 1995. In a county far from the varied services of major metropolitan areas and short on health resources, it filled an important void. Substance abusers whose only future was a revolving door of offenses, arrests and jail suddenly had somewhere to turn. Local courts and prosecutors embraced Turning Point as a treatment alternative to incarceration.
Read more about Norman Chandler in the May/June 2012 edition of Valley Women Magazine in print or our online E-Edition.
Copyright © 2013, Imperial Valley Press