Chuck and Latika London with their children. Both work two jobs to support purchase of their first home.
BASF employee Cleve Fontenot inspired Chuck London in a Dixon Correctional Re-Entry program for prisoners about to be released.
ZACHARY, LA (WAFB) -
Chuck London and his wife Lakita each work two jobs just to own a nice house. It is in a beautiful neighborhood being built in Zachary and has a lake.
It is also the first home they have owned. They just moved out of a trailer park and are still waiting on window blinds they have ordered.
"We had to make sacrifices to get the house. We had to make sacrifices to keep the house," said Chuck. "So, you know, we don't get to enjoy a lot of date nights and I haven't had a vacation in close to 3 years. She hasn't had a vacation. We didn't have a honeymoon."
“But a new house is exciting, kind of like the smell of a new car." I said. London answered excitedly with a big smile, "No, way better than a new car!"
Before the power of prayer, Chuck was a drug dealer, user and gambler. He was locked up in Dixon Correctional Institution. Chuck asked God to help him change. Chuck's mother Lula London is a pastor of 25 years at the Macedonia Pentacostal Church in Jackson, Louisiana.
Chuck said it really clicked for him when his own son begged him to go straight.
"You know, he mentioned to me, 'I'm tired of coming to see you in jail.' He didn't want to come see me," said Chuck. "So that's one of the main factors that motivated me to change."
Knowing he wanted to set a good example for his kids, Chuck had attended a session by BASF in the Dixon Correctional's career program. BASF employee Cleve Fontenot was the speaker that day.
"I asked him, ‘Well, what would be a good profession or career for somebody that’s a convicted felon, that would earn a lot of money?’ [Fontenot] said, ’Process Technology. P-Tech!’" said Chuck.
Chuck said Cleve offered to stay in touch with anyone who was interested. Fontenot was very supportive as Chuck signed up for training at BRCC.
That was in 2012. London did email Fontenot. He walked into BRCC’s Frazier Campus off Highland Road knowing the names of the classes he should take.
I met Chuck at the school so he could introduce me to Ralph Butler, a teacher he had in two classes. Butler smiled as Chuck greeted him.
When asked if Chuck was a good student, Butler said "He's always on time, and his grades are top of the class, if not the best. He's exceptional!"
Chuck has scored a 4.0, straight A’s, pushing for an Associate of Applied Science degree and Certification as a P-Tech. He attended all the classes he could, while also working two jobs, Chuck can't finish in two years. He'll finish in 2017.
When he does, his teacher feels Chuck deserves a good job,
"If I had a business, I’d hire him for process," said Butler.
London said he needs the power of prayer to keep him on track. When temptations come, he said "most of the time I pray when things are starting to... when my mind is starting to get away from the positive and righteous things. Sometimes I pray and just give God praise and thanks."
London has a lot to be thankful for: a good marriage, a good home, a frisky funny dog named Choo choo, and a good example for his kids.
With the power of prayer, Chuck will keep on winning.