and I knew I would die if I continued that lifestyle. I wanted myself back, so I left,” she said.
“From that day forward, I never touched drugs again. I learned to overcome my self-condemnation and learned to forgive myself. I got clean at age 44,” said White, who is happily married, in close contact with her adult children, and has served as a foster parent for more than 70 children over the last decade.
Originally from Iva, she moved in with her daughter while recuperating from hip replacement surger , and after recover , began a local truck-driving job. She talked with a pastor about a way to help addicts like herself. “He referred me to clinical pastoral education at AnMed. I needed a master of divinity to enter the program, but Dr. West made an exception and I was accepted in the summer residency program which teaches participants how to comfort families during spiritual and medical crises.”
Dr. West says although a master of divinity degree is required for entry to the residency program, he does make exceptions as he did with White. “I saw her passion and responsibility and her way of connecting with people—those qualities that can transcend academic degrees.”
Dr. West remembers White’s desire to learn, as well as her passion and perseverance when given an assignment or opportunity. “We established a trusting relationship early on in the process, and she was more free to open up about the challenges she had experienced and to learn more about loving herself and accepting and forgiving herself,” he said. “She was able to look at her potential rather than her past.”
Nine months after completing the Chaplain Residenc , she received her Minister’s Ordination from the USCC of the Upper SC Conference of the International Pentecostal Holiness Church.
“I want to be a pastoral presence and to help people with an understanding heart and a respect for all religions. I’m a recovering drug addict. I’ve been abused and lived through
it. I’m still standing. There are people who have gone through the same struggles, and I can help them,” she said.
White works between six and twelve 16-hour shifts a month at the hospital. She also takes classes at the Anderson Campus both in the classroom and online. “I love Tri-County. The people are so encouraging. This degree means so much to me because despite the past dysfunction of my life, I want my children and grandchildren to be proud of me. I took five years of ‘Mama’ from them. That drives me to make A’s and B’s. I’m humbled, but I’m still here, thankful and proud. I’m looking forward to graduation day and am proud to say there are a lot of people rooting for me.”
She plans to transfer to a four-year university and earn a bachelor’s in Divinity/Psychology. “I want to work in grief counseling. I want to pay it forward.”
“I love ri-County. The people are so encouraging. I’m looking forward to graduation day and am proud to say there are a lot of people rooting for me.”
~Wanda White On-Call Chaplain, AnMed Health
Easley Campus is Close to Home For Marine Corps Veteran
Going from Marine Corps service in Afghanistan to civilian life in Easley has been a hard transition for Kyle Chapman. He knew it wouldn’t be easy and he would encounter bumps in the road, but he thought his four years as a Marine Corps radio operator in Afghanistan, Japan, and Korea would quality him for employment once back home in Pickens County. (After four years, Kyle elected not to re-up in the Marines and is serving as an inactive reservist.)
“I couldn’t get a job,” he said, “and the ones I did try didn’t work out. I was sending resumes out and not hearing anything. I had lost contact with my friends, and I needed to start fresh. Actuall , I needed a class in everyday life. I decided to go back to school with my VA benefits, which pay for a book stipend, tuition, and a monthly allowance.” He is enrolled in the Criminal Justice program at the Easley Campus, where he takes all of his classes. His goal is to be a police officer. “I’m grateful that the Easley Campus is close to my home and has the program I want and need. I wanted my life back and I’m ready to go,” he said.
The College plans to open a Veterans Center on Veterans Day on the Pendleton Campus with offices at the Anderson and Easley Campuses to follow.
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