Jerome Gilgan: The Long Journey Back to Life

Jerome Gilgan: The Long Journey Back to Life

He was only ten years old when the drinking started. With no positive role models or direction, Jerome Gilgan was already lost and looking for escape.

By age 13, he was using and selling drugs, got kicked out of the eighth grade for getting into fights, and even though he was flunking all his classes, the school authorities "graduated" him just to get rid of him.

And so it went until, as a young adult, Jerome spent seven years in prison and three years in county jail on drug charges. He was in and out of four different drug treatment programs, but nothing made a difference. It wasn't until Jerome was referred to the Men's Residential Center (MRC) that things began to change.

"This is a whole different kind of program," Jerome explained. "It's more than just taking classes; it's about learning how to see life and myself from a whole new perspective. I learned how to communicate and went into schools to talk to students about the dangers of drugs. I discovered that my life was starting to have a positive effect on others."

Jerome completed the program under the direction of Greg Stone, Program Director and graduated two years ago. Currently, he's enrolled in classes at Portland Community College studying to become a licensed drug and alcohol counselor. This former failing student, now 50 years old, earned his Associates Degress and CADC, and has been works as a fulltime Counselor at the MRC. Jerome considers this his opportunity to give back to the program that gave so much to him.

"I'm alive today because of Greg Stone and the MRC program," Jerome stressed. "My loyalty to the program is unshakable. All I want is to be part of it, to be able to save somebody else, and give the same hope to others."