Frank was born and raised in Bakersfield. He grew up in a home with both parents and five sisters, and after graduating high school, he left the family home and enlisted in the Navy.
“My time in the Navy was a dark time in my life,” Frank said. “I was trained in the medical field. Things that I saw just didn’t sit well with me and I began to question my faith.”
In 2016, Frank was deployed to Jordan. One night Frank left the ship to go into town, and when he returned, he found his close friend and fellow soldier had died by suicide. A short time later, another of his friends hanged himself in the barracks.
“Because I was medical, I had to be one of the first to respond,” he said. The experiences were traumatic for Frank, as was a call he received while deployed.
“I got a call and was told that my father was sentenced to 25 years in prison,” he said. “That’s the biggest issue I’m facing right now, learning to live with the fact that my Dad is in prison and probably never going to be able to meet my future kids. Between that and my friends dying, it was a lot to process.”
After five years in the Navy, Frank left the armed forces behind. He began smoking marijuana and drinking excessively. “I did it to help deal with everything that had happened,” he said. “I just felt like it was one thing after another. Smoking weed and getting high became my main focus.”
Frank spent all the money he had saved up during deployment to move to Oxnard to get back to his network of family and friends—but the crowd wasn’t always a positive one. “I was hanging with the wrong people and headed down the wrong path,” he said. “My aunt told me about the Mission and said it would probably be a great place for me to come.”
Frank has been at the Mission for five months now. “It has helped me strengthen my faith in the Lord again,” he said. “I read the Bible everyday again. And it’s been helping me to not keep everything in and to open up and talk to people.”
After graduation, Frank plans to go back to school and return to the medical field. He has some advice for anyone considering entering the Mission’s Life Recovery Program. “If you are thinking about coming to the Mission, you shouldn’t second guess yourself,” he said. “They will get you the help you need and they have many resources too.”