His wife is queen, Jesus his Lord

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 10, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

Ron Vinson is a devout Christian who proves each day he truly lives the life he preaches. Vinson is the first to explain he is not an ordained preacher for God, but is insistent he’s a believer and a messenger with a mission.

&uot;I love to share the Word with others and I try to do that every time I meet someone new,&uot; said Vinson. &uot;This is one reason I’m working toward establishing a safe place, a shelter, for homeless men in Suffolk. There is a shelter for our women and children, but no place for a man.&uot;

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The homeless shelter has been his dream for some time, and he’s working with his wife, Linda, on obtaining a grant to help fund it. With what he’s already accomplished in his life, Vinson sees the process and funding of the shelter as challenges to be met.

Overcoming and victory are two words used often in Vinson’s life. He prefers &uot;Brother Vinson&uot; with people, no matter the race, color or creed. He not only talks of being a brother to others in need, but he walks the talk. He knows what it’s like to sleep in cars, abandoned houses and the streets. He knows what it’s like to spend your last dime on drugs as well as how it feels to be behind bars.

&uot;I was really a bad person,&uot; said Vinson. &uot;I was dealing drugs and doing all the wrong. My life… I was truly lost.&uot;

His parents, Helen Mae and the late Clinton Roosevelt Vinson, reared him properly. They didn’t have a lot; only love to give a son. However, like many young people, Vinson wandered onto the wrong side of the Philadelphia tracks.

&uot;There were times that I thought I would die,&uot; he said. &uot;I was into drugs and I carried them at times. I will never forget the night that a bunch of Jamaicans were looking for me to kill me. They found me and all I could do was stand there while they aimed an Uzi at me and pulled the trigger. It did not fire! It jammed. Can you believe it? That’s the night I went home and realized that I had to change my life or die.&uot;

It was that incident that sent Vinson, not only to God, but to seek counseling.

&uot;It was Dr. Evelyn Graves who saw something in me,&uot; he said. &uot;For the first time, someone saw me as something other than a drug dealer. She put me in a responsible position helping her in the office and it made me feel I was worth something.&uot;

In 1997, Jan. 13 to be exact, Vinson met the women who was to become his wife; she was then a counselor at the Christian Broadcasting Network.

&uot;She is a mighty woman,&uot; said Vinson. &uot;After her father, Bishop Leroy Scott, died, she served as pastor to his church, Christ Pentecostal. She cares for me, she knows where I came from and yet she loved me still. Just like Jesus… I was blessed so much when God sent this woman to be my wife. Now, I spend my time helping others. I know how it feels to be strung out, to be so lonely, to be homeless without a place to lie down to sleep. I remember in Philadelphia, seeing the people living in the streets. You would never think that would happen in Suffolk, but it’s a disease that has no boundaries, no racial preference, no lines in financial status. Once you are in drugs or alcohol, the only thing that can save you is God. I know that for a fact. He loved me and He saved me.&uot;

As for Linda Vinson, she said her husband is &uot;on the roll for the Lord.&uot; With her help, she stands with him and the organization he founded, &uot;Brothers Against Drugs.&uot; She serves as secretary for the organization and she will write the grant application for funding for the homeless shelter.

Vinson wept as his wife spoke of her husband’s devotion to God. She also described him as a man with a vision.

&uot;It was the blessing of God upon this man that I saw before I married him,&uot; she said. &uot;He reminded me of my father, that same meek spirit, one of love for others. I loved my father dearly, and I still see that spirit in Ron. He’s devoted to helping others.&uot;

Name? Ronnie McCoy Vinson

Age? 43

Family? My wife is Linda Vinson and we have four children, Jermaine, Julian, Crystal, and Tracy and six grandchildren; Nigel, Justice, Jessica, Kierra, Shauna and Andrew.

Hometown? Suffolk

Education? I went to Philadelphia Public Schools when my mother and father moved there.

Occupation? Operations Engineer at New Mt. Joy Family Worship Center

Volunteer activities? President of &uot;On the Road to Recovery Drug and Alcohol Outreach Ministry,&uot; and President of the &uot;Brotherhood Against Drugs,&uot; and organization to help those addicted to drugs and alcohol overcome their addictions.

Why did you choose your career? The church is my extended family and since I was saved, I’ve always felt it was a call from God to work close to and within the church.

Favorite thing about your job? Knowing first, that my work is unto the Lord, and secondly, making the church look good and provide a comfortable environment in which to come and worship.

Favorite thing about Suffolk? I enjoy the closeness of the neighbors, churches and our friends.

Least favorite thing about your job? I cannot think of one thing I would object to in working for my Lord. He is blessing our lives so mightily and I enjoy being His servant and an instrument of His will.

What accomplishments do you enjoy most? I am most happy over my marriage and seeing the lives of men and women set free from drug and alcohol addiction through our ministry at New Mt. Joy.

Who or what motivates or inspires you? My wife. She is my Queen. Remember that old television show &uot;Queen For a Day?&uot; Well, Linda is my queen every day! She is a wonderful mother, wife and helpmate and I praise God that He blessed me with her.

How do you like to spend your free time? I enjoy fishing

What words of wisdom would you like to share with others? Love God, love your family and help in your community and church. Always be honest and God will richly bless you.

What ingredients make a good life? Have integrity and respect for all life. Love the Lord with all your heart, love your family with all your might and treat others as you would be treated.

We all have our &uot;15 minutes of fame.&uot; How would you spend yours? Sharing my heart about the homeless situation in our nation as well as our city, and encouraging and telling everyone that God can, by his might and power, set you free from any type of bondage, be it drugs or alcohol or whatever. God can handle it all.

How do you spend each day with respect to living a &uot;good&uot; life? I tell my wife every day that I love her. I tell my family how they are so important to me and how much I love them and I try to live life to the fullest as God would have me do. I also take every opportunity to share the joy of living for Christ to all people I meet.