Michael “Mickey” Williams spent 15 of his first 35 years in prison, because of a drug habit he could not kick. The Bridgeton resident, now 42, grew up in Atlantic City with parents who had substance abuse problems, which they eventually conquered. He estimates he went into rehab more than 25 times.

“When I wasn’t in prison, I was in rehab,” he said, trying to beat addictions to heroin and crack cocaine. “My two oldest kids are 21 and 18, and the majority of their lives I was gone.”

But they kept loving him, he said. So did the girlfriend he met in 2006, Lernell Williams, who is now his wife.

Three years ago, he went to his final rehab and got clean, by completely committing himself to God, Williams said. When he came back to Bridgeton, he avoided his old crowd.

“I would go to my church every day from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., without getting a paycheck,” he said of Glory Tabernacle Church, where he cleaned up and helped the Rev. David A. Hadley Sr.

In 2010, Hadley hired him, he said. Now Williams helps minister to others with substance abuse problems, and he’s written a book about his journey, “Pushed Out the Crack House into God’s House,” available on amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com

Williams has only a sixth-grade education, but his friend Valerie Love, of Atlantic City, helped him improve his writing. For years she wrote to him in prison, and corrected his mistakes in his responses to her, he said.

His oldest son saw the worst of his struggles, and had to hear people talk negatively about Williams for years. Now he can say his father is an author, Williams said.

Speaking for her college

Cumberland County College TV production and liberal arts major Noriflorentina Vito, of Pittsgrove Township, has been selected as this year's college spokeswoman. She will serve as an on-camera host and narrator for educational and event coverage videos at CCC. The videos appear on the CCC website, the CCC YouTube page, the CCC cable TV channel 9 and the CCC Facebook page.

Tuckerton Realtor honored

The New Jersey Association of Realtors presented Diane K. Disbrow, of the BayShore Agency in Tuckerton, with a second-place Good Neighbor Award at the Triple Play Realtor Convention and Trade Expo in Atlantic City recently. The $1,500 award was for her work with the Atlantic City Rescue Mission.

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