Those who served time, now being honored for community service

By: Sophia Hernandez | WCTV Eyewitness News
June 16, 2019

GADSDEN COUNTY, Fla. (WCTV) – Sunday morning, Gadsden County's Life International Church, along with community leaders, honored those who have served time, for the community service they have done.

The sixth annual Joseph Project helps those formerly incarcerated know that they have a second chance at life.

Uplifting songs and praises of worship were sung by every person in attendance at the ceremony. For those who have spent time behind bars, like Torrance Kilpherick, they now feel hopeful.

"It has been a long ride, but I thank God that I am here," Kilpherick says.

After being incarcerated for 5 years, Robert Perryman shares, "I never thought that I would be at this point so it's just a wonderful feeling."

Instead of reverting to their old behaviors, each of the men honored at the event have found ways to pay it forward. Kilpherick says that after 3 years behind bars, he was ready to make a change.

"It was either two choices. I could go back in there and work for free, or I live out here and become a productive citizen. So I decided to go to work," Kilpherick says.

"I created a lot of the violence in the past," shares Albert Batts, who spent 10 years in prison. "So I decided it was my time to step up and do something."

These men, at one point serving time, now serve as an inspiration to the younger generation.

That responsibility not lost on Batts, "We already know where they are headed, so we want to let them know before they get there."

Perryman knows the importance of a role model, "It took me to 25. I don't want other kids to have to wait that long."

Their good deeds, now being recognized by Gadsden County Sheriff Morris Young and Second Circuit Court Judge Stephen Everett.

Everett shows how important this recognition is, "We are proud of you for what you have done after you have handled your court case and we want you to continue to be that productive person in our society because we need you."

The feeling, Kilpherick can't quite put into words, "Now the same people that judged me [are] now commending me and giving me an award. It's amazing."

Perryman is completely humbled, "People always recognize when you do bad so it feels really good to be recognized when you are doing good."

All of the men, now know that the work they are doing is making a difference not only in their lives, but in the lives of others. And being honored on Father's Day, for many of these father's was a testament that they will continue to lead by example and do what they can to inspire the next generation.