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Article from the Hawaii Tribune Herald September 30, 2012 click to read







Growing up, I never knew my real father.

I always wondered who he was, what he looked like, and what life might have been like if he were around.

I was raised by my Japanese stepfather who adopted me and gave me his last name, Iwata.

I was more than a handful and really put a strain on the whole family.

For instance, when I was young, I liked playing with matches and ended up burning an entire apartment complex to the ground. My mom had to be rescued by the Fire Department. All of her cherished belongings, including our family pictures went up in smoke.

Then I lit the neighborhood field on fire three or four times.

When I was seven-years-old, I committed my first burglary, got caught, and ended up in Ventura County Juvenile Hall.

I became a regular then, quickly accumulating 18 visits. I ended up getting sent to Deverux for a year.

I deserved much worse.

Deverux was a boarding school, right on the beach in Santa Barbara and that's where I learned to surf.

If it wasn't for surfing, I would have really screwed up my life.

I started smoking pot and doing L.S.D. in the eighth grade.

By the time I was 18, I already had two D.U.I's and 30 days in L.A. County Jail.

The downhill ride was on.

I was in and out of the L.A. County Jail at least 10 times within 12 years.

When I turned 30, Travis, my son, was born and I thought that would straighten me out.

As much as I loved him, I couldn't shake the drugs and alcohol so I wound up back in prison.

I've been to nine different prisons.

In 2001 I finally got so desperate that I asked Jesus into my life.

In that instant, my life changed.

That's when this prisoner was set free.

I've been clean and sober ever since and, by the grace of God, I've stayed out of trouble.

I am now living a clean and sober lifestyle, working hard, and trying to help my friends and family out for being there for me when I needed them most.