HIGH POINT, N.C. -- Gov. Pat McCrory is taking notice of a young man who has turned his life around.
Fifteen-year-old Marcus Thomas of High Point has his own lawn care business. Whether it’s raking, tree trimming or mowing lawns, he’s in high demand.
"I love working. It keeps me busy. It makes me feel better that I can make people smile about their yard. People drive by and they're like, 'dang that's a nice yard’”, Thomas said.
Besides enjoying the work, his business is a daily reminder of how he was given a second chance after going down a rough path.
"I started hanging with the wrong people and doing hardcore drugs. It wasn't marijuana. It was pain pills, opiates and benzos and things like that. I was getting head over heels basically,” said Thomas.
Both of his parents are in prison and he was being raised by his great-grandparents in Randolph County. Thomas was sent to live with his grandmother in High Point. His great-grandparents have since passed away.
"He was very angry. He felt like he didn't have anyone who understood him. He didn't understand why is parents made the decisions that they made,” Christal Herbin, Community Intervention Manager with Eckerd, said.
Eckerd is a program that specializes in giving challenged and often misunderstood youth a second chance.
The program has helped provide Thomas with coping skills and build his confidence. Eckerd also provided him with a laptop to organize his lawn care business.
Recently, McCrory’s office contacted Eckerd for success stories. Thomas was nominated and later received a special certificate from McCrory acknowledging his turn around.
"It feels good to know that the governor is on my side instead of against me like a criminal, instead of trying to put me down, he's trying to pull me up,” he said.
Thomas hopes people in similar situations will learn from his new start.
"Find somebody that will help you,” he said. “Find somebody that will help you get away from the people who are giving or feeding you drugs. It's not worth it; it’s not."
Thomas is saving to buy his own lawn mower. The one he is using now is borrowed. In the future, he wants to have a large landscaping company.