Success Stories
Parole Project client Wayne Martin cannot help but smile as he reflect on where he has been and where he is going


The year was 1978 and the Bee Gees topped the charts with their hit “Stayin Alive.” John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John were making “Grease” number one in theaters, and 18-year-old Wayne Martin, AWOL from the Marines, was hitchhiking around the country. But regardless of how far he ran, Wayne could not outrun what was within; the drugs and alcohol he was abusing to mask the pain of his traumatic childhood. His running stopped when in that same year he was sentenced to life in prison.

After 43 years and 11 days, Wayne received a second chance at life when, supported by Parole Project, he was granted parole in November 2021. After completing the residential reentry phase of our program, he started the next phase of his new journey with his supportive family. He also found employment rewinding electric motors at Red Stick Armature Works, the same type of work he had done for over 35 years in Angola’s maintenance department. Though the work is the same, it is now on a much larger scale.

“Being gainfully employed is a such a great feeling. I finally feel useful again,” he said. “The work we do is important. We help these businesses run their essential operations by building or rebuilding these huge industrial motors.” Wayne recently purchased his first car, on his own, and is looking forward to many other firsts. He is acclimating to the very different world around him, and he is thriving. Wayne and his fiancée are enjoying building a life together. They spend their free time working in their yard and completing DIY projects around the house.

The Wayne Martin of today is a stark contrast to the drug addicted, emotionally unwell young man endlessly running from his problems in 1978. His life now embodies the urgency of second chances. His eyes welled with tears as he talked about his second chance. Wayne’s indomitable spirit is inspiring as he successfully rebuilds his life using lessons and skills he learned on his road to rehabilitation. These hard-earned opportunities, along with the support from Parole Project and his family, are planting roots instead of running and making him a contributor to his workplace, his community and our world.

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