WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Sgt. Jeffrey Phillips says from a young age he was called to serve.
He answered that call Friday night as the guest speaker at The Winston-Salem Rescue Mission’s Veterans Day Service where he ministered to dozens of men recovering from addictions, mainly drugs and alcohol.
"Show them that I love them,” he said. “Show them that somebody cares for them."
At 22, Phillips has done a lot.
He joined the U.S. Army when he was 18 and was later deployed to Afghanistan.
While there, he led a Bible study and felt called to preach.
“I seen one of my buddies get saved, and I seen him turn from crazy living to wanting to please God,” he said. “That was my call to ministry.”
Phillips also does intake and teaches scripture-based classes at Alpha Acres, a drug addiction treatment center in Yadkin County.
He wanted to help others fight addiction after a close friend died from an overdose.
“If there's anything possible that I can do to prevent that from happening again, I'm going to prevent it," Phillips said.
Louis Carrico, the program manager at the Winston-Salem Rescue Mission, chose Phillips to be the guest speaker at Friday’s service to spread hope to men who need it most.
"When a person believes that there's hope and that God has a purpose and plan for their life, they have a reason to recover," Carrico said.
It’s a message Phillips hopes will help the men he serves get back on their feet.
"I just want to encourage people that God's in control,” Phillips said.
Phillips is also studying to become a pastor at Piedmont International University.