ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - A Bay Area man who turned his life around after killing someone while driving drunk as a teenager turned his life around and is helping those struggling with addiction.
For Kelly Lajb, walking on the beach is a way to rejuvenate her spirit.
"I love my walks on the beach," stated Lajb. "So peaceful. You can't beat it. There's nothing like this." Those steps were once filled with pain.
"I started drinking probably when I was 11 or 12, and I started taking drugs maybe when I was 13 or 14," Lajb said.
Her life changed when she walked into Footprints Beachside Recovery. It's a rehabilitation center for alcohol and drug addictions.
Kelly Lajb talks with therapist at Footprints Beachside Recovery.
"When I came in I was so miserable," she stated. "I didn't think there was any hope for me and Footprints gave me a way out. They cared when I didn't know I even had the capability of caring," explained Lajb.
John Templeton runs Footprints. He learned the trappings of alcoholism as a young teen.
"I was an alcoholic and you can you can't be too young to have an addiction or alcohol problem and that’s what I know," he shared.
Templeton didn’t learn that lesson until he was 19 and was involved in a traumatic car accident.
Car following fatal crash in which a drunk John Templeton was behind the wheel.
"I was drinking and driving and irresponsible and I took the life of someone as a teenager. And, you know, I was not only blessed with the grace of forgiveness but also given an opportunity to restore my life," he said.
Templeton only served one year in prison thanks to the compassionate heart of the family members whose daughter died in the accident. They spoke to the judge on his behalf.
"It took a long time to repair my life and to try to constantly pay forward that act that I'll never be able to pay forward, but, you know, to try to continue to give back," said Templeton.
John Templeton appears in an orange jumpsuit before a judge following a fatal drunk driving crash.
To help give back for the past 14 years Templeton and his family have been running this small, intimate 15-bed drug treatment facility by the sea.
"We're able to individualize, like all of our treatment," explained Randi Cutolo, a therapist at Footprints Beachside Recovery. "We're able to work with that individual and customize a program for them so no one gets really lost in the mix. We're able to kind of hone in on what that person needs and really tailor it."
Kelly Lajb and John Templeton discuss drug addiction recovery at Footprints Beachside Recovery.
It’s a program that Templeton and Lajb hope will change the lives of others as well.
Life-changing work, one step at a time.
Lajb can now enjoy the beauty of the beach one step at a time.
LINK: For more information visit https://footprintsbeachside.com.