After 37 years in law enforcement, Chuck Swanson fell in love with the ministry at Adult and Teen Challenge Ohio Valley and joined the staff.
“When I see parents getting their sons back, wives getting their husbands back and children getting their father back — the one they used to know prior to their addictions — it’s absolutely priceless,” he said. “I fell in love with the ministry when I saw the results of Jesus changing the men.” The men rediscover their old selves but surrender to Jesus Christ. “That’s our key to the ministry, it’s the God factor,” Chuck said.
Before coming to work as ATCOV’s logistics coordinator, he served on the ATCOV board of directors for six years, seeing up close how the ministry changes lives. When Chuck retired in 2016 from the Youngstown Police Department, he wanted to do more. “I retired from the police department and six days later I resigned from the [ATCOV] board and started working for Teen Challenge,” he said. In his role at the facility, he takes care of the facility’s keys, radios and vehicles, addressing whatever issues need attention.
Seeing the change in the organization’s clients is the most rewarding thing about his job. “When I see men start to realize that Christ can make a difference and they start to commit to serving him and giving their old life up, and become willing to live a new life in Christ, it just changes a man’s perspective about everything,” Chuck said. It transforms them. “They come in broken, just broken, knowing that their life needs to be changed and they come out happy,” Chuck said. “They come out joyful. They come out loving life again, remembering what it used to be before their addiction.”
ATCOV officials had asked Chuck several times to be on the board before he finally agreed. Up to that point, he didn’t believe he had the time. When he joined the board though, he jumped in with both feet, volunteering, spending time at the facility. He got involved, participating 100%. He didn’t want to just attend meetings.
“I just love my job, I love it,” Chuck said. “When I come here, it’s not work to me. I want to come here. I don’t look at it as a job. I look at it as a ministry. It’s something I want to do. I’m thrilled to come to work every day.”