• Bridge Ministry’s Bridge to Bridge Fun Ride

    by Peter Mounteer

    Duke & Sign-0570

    Ten thousand dollars makes a priceless difference to the men of The Bridge Ministry, who seek to reform themselves and change their lives by accepting the teachings of Jesus as a way out of crippling drug addiction.

    One such man is Duke Kelso, a graduate of the Bridge Restoration Ministry’s 2012 program. He is trying to raise $10,000 in the 3rd annual Bridge to Bridge Ride Fundraiser to help guys currently in the program pay their fees and rebuild their lives.

    Kelso struggled for years with an alcohol problem. It got bad in 2007 after completing a three and a half year stint in the Navy. He was drifting in and out of jail and periodically homeless. He had tried everything to kick his habit, except for prayer. While incarcerated at Monterey County Jail in Salinas, a fellow inmate Tyrole Springs introduced him to the Sinner’s Prayer.

    At the moment Springs reached out to Kelso something inside him told him to try it. While in jail, he began studying The Bible and learning God’s teachings on his own.

    However, Kelso’s efforts at self rehabilitation were thwarted upon being released from confinement; he found himself again on the streets. “If you’re an addict and your homeless, there’s a 99% chance you’ll fall back into your addiction, and that’s what happened to me.” Kelso continued to struggle for a few months before his father discovered The Bridge Ministry in Pacific Grove and signed his son up. Kelso has not touched a drop since December 5, 2011.

    The Bridge was the only program that made a substantial difference for Kelso in overcoming his addiction, and along with that, giving him faith. “I had done three month programs, where you would sit around and tell war stories but you didn’t take steps to get your life straightened out, The Bridge enabled me to make a whole life change.” With The Bridge he began networking with local businesses and landed a job with none other than The Cedar Street Times! He’s also proud to say he’s maintained an A average as a full time student at Monterey Peninsula College with plans to transfer to either CSUMB or UC Santa Cruz for a degree in graphic design. He’s figured out all his legal issues, re-established a positive relationship with his friends and family, run two marathons and the Wildflower Triathlon that takes place annually in May at Lake San Antonio.

    Looking back on the darkness he lived through with alcoholism, Kelso stays positive. “I’d been ready to get my stuff together, I just needed the right opportunity to do it, and when that came along [with The Bridge] I jumped on it.” Through all the positive changes he’s made, Kelso maintains that he still has his faith.

    The annual Bridge to Bridge Fun Ride is a non-competitive bicycle ride of 20, 50 or 100 miles. Kelso will be tackling the 100 mile stretch that starts and ends in Pacific Grove at 8:00 a.m. on August 3, 2013. The ride is The Bridge Ministry’s second biggest fundraiser and remains vitally important to keeping all the establishment’s services available year round. Peninsula riders are encouraged to participate in any of the three rides. Among those members of the public already registered are a team of eight riders representing the Bridge. They are Jeffrey Ernest, Andrew Kipsey, Lorrie Marks Bridges, Lindsey Bertomen, Ryan Casey, Hector Medina, Ashley Dahlem and Duke Kelso, himself.

    The Bridge is also looking for volunteers to help with the promotion, planning and execution of the event. To donate, register or volunteer, visit www.b2bbikeride.com.

    On how to overcome addiction Kelso had this to say: “Until you hit bottom you won’t be able to make that switch. I knew when I was done. I’d just ask them if they were done, if not I’d say go get done and when you are I’ll show you the way to get sober.”

    posted to Cedar Street Times on July 18, 2013

    Topics: Peter Mounteer, Sports

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