A pastor is on a mission to heal the wounds of young African American men in Fairfield. For the past four years Pastor Alton Hardy has worked the streets of Fairfield and earned an unusual form of street credibility — helping gang members, the unemployed, and other troubled young men to turn their lives around.

For 26 year old Justin McCown is one of them. For the former gang member, death was not desirable. But, it was inevitable.

“For the simple fact that I didn’t care. Whatever happened happened.”

He remembers the exact time life really began to unravel for him.

“He was one of my best friends. I was 14 or 15 when my friend got shot. He supposedly stole a dog. Two grown men shot him down in the street.”

Justin says that’s when he stopped caring. He didn’t return to school.

“Like, I wasn’t studying school. I was lost. I didn’t have anyone to go to. ”

He fell deeper into the streets. Breaking into cars, homes, and selling drugs. Then – another milestone came around 21 year of age. When a car drove past his house and began firing. The house is now vacant and unkempt. The windows still broken from the gunfire. Justin says that’s when he knew he had to change.

“That night could’ve ended my life.”

He eventually met Pastor Alton Hardy — known on the streets as P.A. Pastor Hardy studied the Bible with Justin. The two began a journey of healing and purpose.

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SOURCE: Jennifer Gonsoulin 
ABC 33 40