JONESVILLE, Va. - Can you come back from drug addiction, serve time in prison, and then live a normal life? Many try and many fail, but one Lee County, Virginia woman says yes, you can.
Not only that, but she can use her past failures to keep others from doing the same.
Jane Benfield is a legal assistant at the Montgomery Kinser Law Offices in Jonesville. She began her professional career as a nurse, until something went very wrong. "I was an LPN in 1995. I graduated as a salutatorian of my LPN class, and by 1998 I was hooked on oxycontin," Jane tells us.
Despite her cheerful attitude at work, she's had some dark moments. "I had a new home, I had a new car, basically I walked away and left all of it. Left my kids. I had a 14-year-old son and a 10-year-old daughter. That breaks my heart to say that out loud, but it's reality," she said.
Her addiction led to dealing, which led to another reality check in the Duffield Regional Jail. "I was so scared and remorseful that I couldn't see anything but bad things every day happening to me. I had the deepest, deepest feeling of hopelessness ever," she said.
It was faith that led her to her new life, but she's not forgotten that hopeless feeling. Along with her church, she created a project called H.O.P.E., Helping Others Prepare for Eternity, which leads her back to where her troubles began to give out free meals once a month. "I used to be one of those people running the streets. So I had such a desire to go reach out to them that through the church I run a mission called H.O.P.E. I don't preach to them, I just go over there and provide a meal every month," she said.
And a story of hope, a story of yes, you can be a productive member of society and live a life changed.