By: Katie Sobiech
Get ready because the T.R.Y. guys may be coming to your neighborhood soon…These men are some of the most humble, friendly guys you’ll ever meet.
Darryl Hill started with T.R.Y. fourteen months ago and is now the team leader for the lawn crew and heavily involved in construction projects.
“From the darkness I come out of I just give all the praise to God for where He’s brought me today,” Hill said, “I got out of doing it Darryl’s way and everybody else’s way and started doing it God’s way and the blessings just continue.”
They are known around town as the “T.R.Y. Guys”.
“The people we work for call us the T.R.Y Guys and you see the glow on their faces when we show up,” Hill smiled.
This is quite a difference for Hill; compared to the man he used to be.
Hill lived in a dark state of confusion for fifteen years before turning things around.
He’s been clean for 32 months now.
“I can’t do it by myself. I give it all to God first, but without the positives of Perry and Steve and all of my other brothers in the ministry I couldn’t do it,” Hill said.
Randy Bullard, staying at the same T.R.Y. house as Hill, has his own unique story of transformation. He came to Akron from North Carolina after struggling with addiction for 30 years.
“God has truly created me into a new person. My whole personality and everything has changed,” Bullard said “People who knew me are constantly saying ‘You are a totally different person’.”
Bullard’s been with T.R.Y. for 2 ½ months and says “It’s been a very rapid growth.”
Seeing the changes in his father, Bullard’s 24 year old son said he envied what his father had gotten, and wanted it. He drove up from North Carolina to be in the program and is now with his father.
“Just the power of seeing a transformed life, and God work, released the power to create a desire, and the son was in legal and addiction confusion himself,” Steve Wewer, Chief Operating Officer of T.R.Y., said.
Bullard’s son commented that this is the first time in his life that he’s seen his father truly happy. Bullard teared up while sharing this.
“Most men begin to want to surrender because they’re so tired of living the old life,” Wewer explained.
With T.R.Y., men who’ve been released from prison or are dealing with some type of addiction are able to stay in one of the T.R.Y. houses, free of charge.
During this time they are submerged in a new, healthier lifestyle which includes Christian relationships, Bible studies, and overcoming addictions, along with becoming productive members of society. They now give, where they once took.
Along with housing, T.R.Y. offers employment skills training, community service and apprenticeship close to 40 hours a week.
“This provides a healthy support system for a man. He has a safe, clean environment to live in, positive men to interact with and community service to help him stay focused on others,” Wewer said.
T.R.Y.’s goal is to stay focused on others; including churches and other ministries.
“This helps men because they are coming out of confusion, and confusion is all about self, it’s all about what I want to do, so it provides a healthy support system for men to grow and be transformed by God,” Wewer continued.
The men oversee parking for Open M several nights a week, work with Akron Urban League, volunteer at various local churches, and just recently helped tear down and set up Project Homeless Connect.
“People call us the T.R.Y. Guys because a lot of us do work hard and they tell us how much of a blessing it is for us to be there. It’s just as much of a blessing for me to be there and help, and I mean that from the bottom of my heart. I compare it to where I was before and it’s just a beautiful thing,” Hill said.
“Jesus asked his disciples to be available, faithful, and teachable, and the fishermen who left their boat and went and followed…they were available. They just left and surrendered everything,” Wewer said.
The T.R.Y. acronym, AFTER, ties in with that message.A for Available, F – Faithful, T – Teachable, E – Effective and R – Responsive.
“We’re teaching men how to become AFTER. Our whole culture at T.R.Y. is being available to serve others” Wewer said.
The men at T.R.Y. realize that trying to do it their own way was a lot of work that got them nowhere.
“God created us all for a purpose,” Perry Clark, President and Founder of T.R.Y., said. “I tell the guys, if you look at all of the things that you did in your state of confusion and put that much time and effort into Jesus, He’ll change you and you’ll have different lives.”
The ministry is also helping the men restore their broken relationships with family and friends.
Bullard, whose ex-wife and three children are living in North Carolina, hopes to heal the relationships he’s lost.
Hill, who had not spoken to his three sisters for years, was invited to Easter dinner with them this year.
“They always loved me because I was their brother, but they were mentally drained. They couldn’t trust me anymore. Then, when I came out (of prison) and had that positive glow they embraced me and forgave me,” Hill said.
He now has all three sisters back in his life.
“It almost brings a tear to my eye every time that I talk about it. For almost three years I never got a Happy Birthday or Christmas call or nothing. Now I’m invited to my sister’s house for dinner,” Hill said.