Seizing His Second Chance: Michael Builds Others
It starts with a logo and leads to something much more powerful.
“My logo?” Asks Michael Galloway, as he turns around to show the words printed on the back of his shirt.
“My sign right there? It’s not about how you start, it’s how you finish.”
Michael Galloway spent several years incarcerated. Some of them at the Oliver J. Bell Unit in Cleveland, Texas where he involved himself in the programming offered there, including PEP, the Prison Entrepreneurship Program. While at Bell, he also found people who wanted to make a difference in his life.
“There was a warden,” he recalls, “(he was) the principal on the unit who empowered me, believed in me enough to say, ‘hey look, I see the potential in you. Let’s help that grow.’ And they did. Tremendously.”
Through Michael’s participation in PEP and the encouragement he received from the staff at Bell, he developed a business plan around his passion for fitness. Upon his release, he put the plan into action.
“I wanted to take this vision and my dream that I had built while I was in prison out here into the world. So, I started my business.”
Years later, his mobile personal training business is going strong.
“I get to help people every day become the greatest version of themselves. It’s a beautiful thing to get paid to do what you love.”
Recently, Michael had a chance to return to the facility where he found familiar faces and remembered the time he was in their shoes.
“To come back, years later, after I’ve been out here facing the struggles, I walk through and I felt like I never even left. It almost felt like it was an alma mater. I was back around people I knew. To be able to walk down the halls and still see some of the same guards that remember me from back when I was there as an offender, and for them to see me and see the change I’m constantly doing. I mean, that meant the world. And also to be able to speak life to my other brothers.”
Pete Coffin is the current warden of the Bell Unit.
“We are in the business of changing attitudes, changing minds, changing lives,” states Warden Coffin. “And it’s exciting to be a part of that, too. We actually see it. When you actually see somebody change, that’s exciting. That’s rewarding for me when I see the change. He’s one of many that comes from the Oliver J. Bell Unit, with PEP and the other resources that they have when they leave here. But not only that, it changes them when they’re here. It changes their whole mindset. So that they do want to serve, they do want to help the others when they get out. They don’t want to re-offend, they don’t want to be part of a statistic. So, we’re just excited that he came from the Oliver J. Bell Unit.”
“I thank God every day,” says Michael, “for giving me the opportunity and allowing me to go to the MTC unit, and to be able to grow. Because they really helped me with my leadership skills. They gave me those opportunities to grow. And when I came out here, I was able to utilize everything I learned. My purpose is to make a difference and provide hope to others that you can transform and you can have a redemptive story.”