(Memphis) Up-and-down the hallways of the Salvation Army on Jackson Avenue, it’s hard for coworkers not to be swept away by the infectious laughter and the love shown by employee Rosemary Sutton.
Rosemary has a smile on her face today, but five years ago there were tears in her eyes and bruises on her skin.
She was a prisoner of domestic violence brought on by the father of one of her children.
“Like you’re walking on egg shells. You never know what to say. You might get slapped upside the head. You might get thrown out the door.”
Fourteen years of domestic violence left Rosemary scared and scarred and she turned to drugs, “I was on drugs and I thought I had family security. That wasn’t security, that was stupidity. on my behalf.”
It was hard for her to walk away, but she slowly began to wipe away her tears when she made up her mind to go through nine months of painful rehabilitation, and she came to the Salvation Army for help, “I got some people who care about me and gave me a bed.”
Her bed was in the Salvation Army’s Single Women’s Lodge.
The goal here is to provide transitional housing for chemically addicted women and their children and work towards better parenting, sobriety and employment.
Rosemary also went through intensive case management or as she calls it tough love, “It was the staff. They allowed me to talk. I had to vent, but other than that, Alex, they gave me a place to sleep, food, take a bath.”
Rosemary was a resident for four and a half months.
As she was getting back on her feet, the staff helped her find a subsidized apartment that she proudly shows off in these pictures.
Rosemary says because the Salvation Army gave her so much, she gave back to it by volunteering and she was eventually hired as a custodial worker.
“I love to come to work. I love doing what I do. To me, that’s the best job.”
The Salvation Army’s Renewal Place, a home away from home for Rosemary Sutton and a place for new beginnings.
“When I think about my story I can’t do nothing but cry about it because if it hadn’t been for this place, Alex, I don’t know where I would be. I wouldn’t be here standing talking.”