Hall of Fame Jockey Pat Day shared a powerful testimony of his struggles with alcohol and drugs during the early years of his career that threatened his success. Day, the guest speaker at Prodigal Ministries’ 2014 Christmas in September Fashion Event and Dinner, understands addiction.
Day has made no secret of his struggles with substance abuse that began in the late 1970s during his rapid rise to the top of the national standings and top rider at Churchill Downs.
“Despite my success, there was a void in my life that I tried to fill with drugs and alcohol,” he told the audience of more than 250 who gathered for the seventh annual event at the Seelbach Hilton Louisville on September 4th.
At his darkest point, Day encountered the redeeming love of Jesus Christ that turned his life around. “Christ removed the chains of addiction from me, and I have found the joy, the peace and the contentment that ultimately we’re all looking for in my relationship with Him.”
Day went on to win more than 8,800 races in a career spanning 32 years, and was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 1991.
“Pat Day struggled with and overcame the same addictions that our clients deal with,” said Mary Ellen Stottmann, Board Chair for Prodigal Ministries. “Drugs and alcohol are often major factors leading to incarceration. Prisoners are a fast-growing population in America, with an impact that goes beyond the prisoner to their families, particularly children. That impact trickles throughout the community.”
A Christian aftercare program, Prodigal Ministries offers transitional housing to men and women just released from prison. Prodigal’s mission is to help them become self-sufficient and avoid prison return with Christ as their primary support system.
“Prodigal Ministries gives hope to newly-released men & women, providing critical support such as housing, job training, and counseling that significantly increase their chances of not returning to prison,” said Mrs. Stottmann. “The first 90 days are crucial. With no housing, no job prospects and no income source, many of these men & women are simply overwhelmed and fall back into old patterns that result in a return to prison. Of those that return to prison, a majority – nearly 85% – will reoffend within 30 days of release.”
The support services the organization provides have helped Prodigal Ministries to achieve a significantly reduced return-to-prison rate for its clients, compared to state and national rates.
The Christmas in September Fashion Event & Dinner was supported by Corporate Sponsor: Stock Yards Bank & Trust; Cocktail Sponsors: Brown-Forman and Volare Italian Ristorante; Valet Parking Sponsor: Blue Grass Motorsport; and Media Sponsors: Today’s Woman and Louisville Public Media.
Photo — Hall of Fame Jockey Pat Day (left), with Prodigal Ministries board member Nat Green and Jennifer Partin, Executive Director.