Doug has spent most of his life on the streets ranging from L.A. to Spokane. As seems to be common with most of the guests we have talked to, his childhood was extremely rough. His parents married shortly after World War II, in which his father served. Unfortunately, both parents were alcoholics, dabbled in drugs, and adultery. Ultimately, Doug was raised by his dad as his mom got pregnant and ran off with another man. She would eventually end up working in a brothel in Las Vegas. One of Doug’s earliest childhood memories was when he was 5, and his mother drove him and his 7 year old brother up from L.A., where she was living, to their dad’s house in Santa Barbara. She left them at the front door on a Friday afternoon, and went back to L.A. Their dad was not home, and so they remained on the front porch until his return Sunday evening.
Doug traveled with his dad up and down the California coast most of his childhood; going wherever Dad could find work at the time. Doug seemed to find trouble for himself wherever they landed saying, “the first 19 years of my life my heart was the blackest of blacks; life was very dark. If there was a sin to commit I’ve committed it.” Doug’s dad took him to a Billy Graham Crusade when he was 9, and Doug responded to the alter call, but it would be another 10 years before he would surrender to Jesus.
When Doug was 18, he traveled with two friends up to Snohomish, Washington. One of his friends had created an invention that helped expedite the production of furniture, and was showing it at the Snohomish County Fair. While in Snohomish, they had a falling out one night over a card game, and at 2am Doug was kicked out of their motel. “All the money I had on me went to renting that room, so I was out on the street with nothing and no way to get back home to California.” Through a dark turn of events of his own doing, Doug committed a crime and landed him in prison for the next twenty years. He was just 19 years old.
Not long afterwards, Doug found himself on his knees in his prison cell crying out to God, and wanting to be released from his addictions and lifestyle. Doug does suffer from a degree of brain damage so some of the details of his life in prison were a bit scattered, and hard to follow. Upon his release he stayed at the Union Gospel Mission for a time, but because of his felony conviction was never able to find housing. He ended up falling into meth addiction again, and settled on life on the streets of Spokane (though he has been clean for the last five years). However, he has not lost his faith in Jesus. Doug is known on the streets as Preacher, as he wants everyone he comes into contact with to know the love and grace of Jesus Christ.
Doug found a connection to Jewel’s Helping Hands through Kelly. Kelly and Doug knew each other from time on the streets. However, Kelly is one of many success stories through Jewels Helping Hands. Having found sobriety, housing, and employment herself, she remained in contact with Doug, and has been able to get him into warming centers during the winter. Unfortunately, he has lost fingers in the past to frostbite and is still at risk to this day from losing more.
Doug’s parting words from our interview were this: I hated my dad growing up, but looking back I can see that he did his best to raise me and I just wish I had the opportunity before he died to tell him thank you and let him know how much I appreciate him. “I’m confident I will see him again, and I look forward to telling him these things.”