For Everyday Hero Chuck Donaghe, the journey to working with students at Eckerd’s Project Bridge has been a long one.
“I’ve made some terrible choices in my life, but they’ve made me a better man,” Donaghe said.
Donaghe, who at one time owned three computer stores, volunteers as a mentor to young men and women who have spent time in a juvenile justice residential program. It’s something Donaghe is familiar with. He’s also spent time in a state facility and he says it saved his life.
“Made some bad decisions, I ended up in prison for several years ... for drugs. While I was in prison, they found cancer and saved my life,” Donaghe said.
Donaghe’s cancer is in remission now. And he works with young people, sharing his knowledge and his story, including the missteps that cost him his family, his business and his freedom.
Lawrence Hunt, a transition coordinator with Eckerd, said Donaghe is the picture of a second chance.
“He came away from that experience ready to help other people not make the same mistakes," Lawrence said. "So, in my opinion, he is a guy who speaks to our mission, which is to give kids a second chance.”
Now reunited with his two children and dedicated to mentoring others, Donaghe's life is back on track and picking up steam.
“I don’t see what I do as being a hero,” Donaghe said. “It’s just part of my life.”