Local News

Former Homeless Man Hits The Streets To Help Others

Posted July 10, 2001

— He was once a hopeless, homeless drug abuser. Today, Sam Williams is a different man.

A one-time man of the street, Sam Williams now helps others on the streets of Raleigh who are wrestling with the same addictions he did.

"I'm doing this because somebody did it for me," he says of counseling people on the streets of southeast Raleigh, handing out condoms and speaking to inmates.

"I was using heroin, I used cocaine, marijuana, alcohol. Everyday, all day. Today, my primary purpose in life is to serve a God," says Williams.

"I'm trying to show them what worked for me. You know, to let them know that I hurt , too," he says.

Williams has traveled a long way, much of it downhill. But he somehow picked up the soles of his feet to save himself and the souls of others.

Known to many in the community as "Uncle Sam," Williams has remained drug-free for 23 years. He went on to graduate with honors from Shaw University and works two full-time jobs.

Williams spends lots of time voluntering and says he wants to be a positive influence for children.

"And [by] serving God, I think that I'm being led to give back to my community," he says.

In June, Williams traveled to Washington where he was honored with the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Award for Outstanding Community Service.

Williams, who works with the Wake County Department of Human Services,was one of five winners selected from across the country.

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