To the editor:

My story inspires and gives hope to the hopeless. I have never been ashamed or attempted to hide anything from my past. I have shared my testimony several times on social media about my past mistakes and also did a Q5 with the Leavenworth Times on March 23, 2016. I am inspired to share my story because I don’t consider myself a failure, but a success story.

In 2007, I was convicted of a felony and incarcerated in prison for three years for a non-violent offense. At the time, my son was just 8 months old. I knew if something did not change in my life, I would probably never get a chance to raise my son. 

While in prison, I made the decision to give my life to Jesus Christ and become a Christian. I studied the Bible every day and the more I studied, the more I realized God used individuals from the Bible who made mistakes just like me to do his great works. 

The more I prayed, the more God revealed to me my purpose in life and my purpose now is to lead people to Jesus Christ, to teach people not to make the same mistakes I made and bring unity to our community.

After serving three years in prison, I reunited with my family and joined Faith Christian Center International Church, where I am currently an ordained minister. After successfully completing my parole, I became a mentor at the Lansing Correctional Facility. 

I began sharing my testimony, teaching inmates how to write resumes and fill out job applications. In 2012, I was blessed with a federal government contracting job, which I currently still hold, and for five years I have been helping serve the Fort Leavenworth military community. 

For several years, I have shared my testimony with children, teenagers and adults from churches to juvenile detention facilities. 

The year 2015 was one of the greatest years of my life – May 6, 2015, to be exact. It was on that date that my criminal record was expunged. Expunge means erased, removed completely. 

In order to accomplish this task, you must fulfill a waiting period between the incident and expungement and have no intervening incidents. All terms of the sentence have been completely fulfilled. 

This was also the year Unity in the Community was created and established by my wife Jessica and I. We had seen all of the division that was taking place throughout the world and we did not want our city to be divided. 

Unity in the Community has been serving the Leavenworth community by building relationships with our local law enforcement agencies, mentoring youth and providing community meals. 

For the past two years, Unity in the Community has worked with our local law enforcement by putting together communitywide events such as Bridging the Gap, a basketball game between youth and the Leavenworth Police Department. The purpose was to bring people together from different demographics and walks of life to show love and create unity. It has been a total success. 

I believe no one should be judged based upon their race, occupation, ethnic background or past mistakes. Unity in the Community is about coming together to make a difference in our community.

I am committed to serving this community on whatever platform I may have the opportunity to serve. I am experienced in caring for people, creating positive change and envisioning how to make tomorrow better for the people in this community.

Our city commission doesn’t need another politician. Our city commission needs someone who is from the community and who is for all of the people in our community.

If God can change me and use me to bring unity to our community, God can also use me to lead this city in the right direction that it needs to go. 

Thank you once again for allowing me to share my story. God bless this great city.

(Editor’s note: Jermaine Wilson is a candidate for the Leavenworth City Commission.)