Cover Story

Where are they now?

"Where are they now?" Continued...

Issue: "The new urban frontier," March 9, 2013

Ben McLeish runs the St. Roch Community Development Corporation, which now emphasizes financial literacy, jobs training, and small business development. McLeish also tried to develop one young man, Eric Green, whom he had met when Eric was a mischievous seventh-grader. Eric came to the wedding of Ben and Stephanie McLeish and became like a son to them, living with them for a year. They caught catfish out of the Mississippi River.

As Eric climbed the rungs of his teenage years, though, he often fell off the ladder. Sometimes he called McLeish to take him to the hospital or pick him up to escape someone who wanted him in the hospital. Drugs, crime, trouble. Sometimes, as on Christmas Eve, 2012, McLeish was able to talk with him about Jesus. Twelve days later, in a blog post titled “Loved dearly and deeply missed, my son,” McLeish wrote: “You were on an intense search to make pain & brokenness go away but it seemed like nothing could medicate the deep wounds. We reassured you of our love for you and our deep concern that the path you were on would lead to your demise.”

Shortly after Christmas, 21-year-old Eric apparently overdosed. He never woke up. 

Where are they now? McLeish wrote in his blog letter to Eric, “I have sought solace in the story of the Prodigal Son and hope and trust that you have made your way home to our Heavenly Father who has rushed out to embrace you and throw a party for you—not because you somehow repented as you passed away but because the profession of Christ Jesus as your savior you once made was true.”

Marvin Olasky
Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD News Group and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.

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