Little did I know, I had to escape my home town. I often look back and see that it was my actions not so much my home town. It had a lot to do with who I was and the path I was on. My home town just carried a one way path for me, and it took awhile for me to see it. 27 whole years, Finally off of Probation at the age of 27.11 years ago I stepped out of my area for good. I was in and out of trouble since the age of 11 and I should have known, I had a fight on my hands. In a Juvenile detention center at the age of 13. If you’re wondering, yes I cried the first week of my 28 day sentence. I didn’t understand the path ahead of me. It still pointed in the same direction, The road to no where!

Fighting my way out!          FreeBird

I was a young kid full of trapped energy. A couple of sport activities were just not enough for me. To much time on my hands. Don’t get me wrong, we trained and trained hard, as a kid I just needed more. Starting off at the age of 12 in the basement of my mom and dad’s home in Dennison,Ohio. That’s where I started Martial Arts and weight lifting. My Dad (Dink) got Deric and I started in the right direction. Teaching us how to train each body part, also how to gain strength for the sports we were in. Martial Arts and weight training came easy for my dad. That’s all he did growing up. We installed a heavy bag, a speed bag, and rocked the house. Seeing the bag had to hang off of the center support beam of the house. My mom would yell at us when her pictures fell off the wall. When she wasn’t home, we took the pictures down so we could hit the heavy bag.

Jason and Deric

              While locked up my 8th grade year,The judge told me,”You do things all boys your age do, but you get caught.” Yes Sir” I replied. As coach Peters and the judge met up at the Juvenile detention center in New Philadelphia,Ohio. Mr.Peters told me to get in the truck, “We got a wrestling tournament to win this weekend.” Away I went, didn’t look back at that place. Food was nasty and I had already gotten into one fight the first week. Mr.Peters and Judge Hilyer were close friends! I look back at how thankful I am today for the people who took me under their wing! They talked for about 5 min. Shook hands. The judge told me good luck and he wanted me back there by Sunday night.

Jason orange hoodie

     In trouble at the age’s of 11,13,15,17 and then 19. I was in and out of the court for minor offenses. Enough to lose respect from my parents for a period of time. I know they didn’t know what to do with me! I was focused on sports and I see now I lacked a mentor as a youth. Every young kid needs a focus point as they grow and mentors to look up to. I can say I always looked up to the upper class man as I hit 8th grade. The high school wrestlers were always getting ready for wrestling matches and it impressed me to see the size of some of these guys and the dedication that carried through our Wrestling Program at Claymont.

Being an adult at the age of 19, I was on my own. 19 years old and back in jail. No parents or coaching staff to save me from this one. I had to fight my own way out. The Big Fight! Understanding who I was and finding direction. In 1996 a fight on the streets got me locked up. Many many fights as a kid growing up, but I never hurt anyone like I hurt this kid. I was scared. Time to pay The Piper. I had a pretty interesting job working for a Fiber Optic Company at the time. Aggressive work and it kept me busy. So busy I didn’t have time to get into trouble, after this last time in court it really made me think. The judge was easy on me in my eyes. I had 60 days in  jail and $10,000 dollars to pay for that young mans Doctor bills. We agreed to all weekends. Every weekend in the county jail for about a year along with 5 years of  weekly probation officer visits…Awesome for a kid fresh out of High School.

In my mind I carried a big heart for other people. How could I be wrapped up in court most of my life and still so young. Why? Little did I know that my story, my journey would make sense one day.

My job at the time took me to Toledo, Ohio. I was still seeing my Tuscarawas County Probation officer and doing my weekends at our local County Jail. It was almost expected  that I was going to continue living with a probation officer all my life! By the time my 60 days of weekends in jail ended I had plans to move to Toledo. Work was good in that area. We were rebuilding the cable system across 3 counties. After several conversations with my probation officer, she agreed to transfer my probation to Toledo, Ohio. A friend of mine (Eric Flip Lippencott) and I made the jump. Packed our stuff and moved. It wasn’t an easy move. We were on our own. We rented a room a few days a week and slept in our car the rest. That RX7 was pretty tight for 2 guys with a hatch full of personal property and work cloths.

I only wish I could tell you that my life improved from here, it doesn’t!

New probation officer and new area. I moved up quick in my field of work as a supervisor and ran a crew of 4 guys. We all made good money, made some life long friends I still keep in contact with to this day.

Here we go again!

I was to attend an anger management class the first month in the area. That was part of my probation. I didn’t go until the 2nd month, and my probation officer sent me straight to jail. He didn’t care about my job, the money, or the property I had in my car. Everything in my world went on hold. Life paused for me. This time I was out of town with out a clue as to what to do!

Fight, I was always ready for one for sure!

I had no clue about this place, new county jail, inner city. More black than I was used to seeing. Not that I didn’t have a few black friends, just not inner city black friends in jail. Big difference! I got to know a few guys and tried to just stay out of the way. Yes, of course I got into a fight! A crack dealer named Dirty. I was tired of hearing all his crack selling stories. Dirty “When I’m on my block and the ice cream man hits the block, all the kids are like, Dirty Dirty! Buy me some ice cream, you know what I’m saying. So I hook the kids up while I’m hooking their parents up, you know what I’m saying?” Alright, I couldn’t handle it any more. Stringing their parents out on drugs. Getting close to the kids as a friend. Next he will be selling to them as they get older. Freebird! “Dirty, Dirty! Listen man, they don’t like your crack head ass, you’re only buying them ice cream. That’s it! While selling crack to their parents man. Keep you crack head living stories to yourself. All you’re doing is adding more people to the court system, That’s it man.”

Another fight!

I chatted with a couple of people and they said “He’s coming!” Cool, I thought in my mind. I was sweeping my cell like a good little inmate. In he comes. Dirty “Give me the broom white boy” Freebird  “When I’m finished it’s all yours.” Dirty “No, it’s mine now.” He hit me in the face with a nice shot and grabbed the broom. We were pulling back in forth. This cat stands there, legs spread wide open. I’m thinking! Self! What’s up Freebird. Self! “This is like taking ice cream from a child.” I couldn’t believe it. It was like a scene from a movie. I kicked him in the nuts. He was still fighting for the broom. The broom was my leverage. I fired 2 more shots off in the same place. The broom drops. Dirty fires off a couple close combat shots to my head. I’ve already been hit plenty of times in my life. I scooped him up, seeing we were almost fighting in a phone booth by the size of the cell. Yep, you guessed it. Dirty’s feet scrapped the ceiling. As he fell I was on top. It happened so fast, I landed 2 hits to each side of his face. His friends were in there pretty fast. Pulled me off. Luckily no C.O.’s were around. They had it all planned. It just didn’t end up working out from their end. Easy sailing from there. The rest of my 45 days were just fine on this trip. We didn’t see much of  Dirty for about 2 weeks. He spent his time in his cell by himself. I spent my time and got back out. By that time Eric and I had spent close to 2.5 months in Toledo. I spent 45 days locked up. I often asked myself, was it my home town or was it my way of living that kept me going back and forth to jail? Stinking thinking for sure. I couldn’t get away with the same attitude I had in High School. This was as real as it gets. Life’s not handing you anything, I thought to myself. The real Fight was fighting selfish desires and living in the world. That’s the real fight.

When you come to realize that change comes from inside of you, that’s when you’ll start to see a change and stop pointing fingers. When you point a finger, you always have 3 more pointing right back at you. Take that time to look at the man in the mirror and ask yourself, “What can I do to become a better person?” Change isn’t always quick and rapid. It’ll take years. As I grew, the more I got to see how much God was moving in my life to be where I am today at the age of 38, beautiful wife and great kids. One thing my Grandfather never had the chance to experience. Being a father and a husband. He often talks about it. He has always seemed to show me a lot of respect based off of my family life. He knows I can’t just up and move to California so we can visit one another during his last days. I know my father Charlie Jr. worked to be a father to his last family. I also understand more now than ever why he couldn’t be in my life. I strongly disagree with the actions that took his life at the same age I am now. We could have built a relationship of some kind. My heart would have let go of the past to make a future. I promise that. I had a hardened heart with my Grandfather. I realized that had to come to an end. 3.5 years ago when he contacted me, I found the answers I was looking for and was able to put my mind to rest. 

The Fight Never Ends. It might get a little easier. Never give up!

       The never give up attitude is something I’m grateful for. I thank God daily for the strong will to make it in this world.

The path I continued on was no fun. Yes, it goes on even deeper. While I lived in Toledo I got a chance to meet a guy names Taz. Little off, but his story will explain why he was a little off. He was a drug smuggler for years for the Mexican mafia. Traveled around the world. With drugs mainly. That was his job since he was a child. From crossing boarders to flying planes. In my mind, this was the guy I wanted to meet. I grew up around drugs in our home town. It still runs wild in my neck of the woods. Taz and I became good friends and gained one another’s trust pretty fast. He had a plan and so did I. He needed some confidence at getting back in the game and I was already in it for years also. That’s what I knew growing up. That was the crowd I was around and took to more than the laid back, do what’s right crowd. I’ve always enjoyed the intense rush of the heart pounding and blood racing life style. Taz made his contact and we were working on our first shipment. 10 lbs of weed in the mail. He took it to his place. I was to take the next one if things went well. We carried on a long conversation with his connection in Mexico. Obtaining proper details and how the packages are wrapped. He owned his own K-9 drug dogs. When to walk away and how to stand your ground if something went down. Personally I was excited.$550 a pound. I didn’t think of what could happen. Like the Feds kicking in your door instead of your package showing up. We could flip that all day for $1,600. All I saw was the money. Still on probation away from home. Getting myself into deeper waters every other year of my life.  I was on my way to life in prison or dead, the same path the Manson bloodline was on. The first drop came and went. Smooth transition, no worries. At least that’s what Taz played it out to be. I found out later that he was a wreck till this was over. I was on a ride I should have never jumped on this time. We both worked the details out on the payments and sold what we had. Paid back Mr. Mexico. The second shipment I received. I followed the rules set up for my by Mr. Mexico and the drop was successful. This time Taz wanted to take our package with him and he would get me what I needed to move forward on my end. I didn’t have a problem with that. But, I didn’t receive anything. He stopped coming to work, never called me back. I started receiving phone calls from Mr. Mexico about the payoff. I tried being patient hoping Taz would pop his head back around soon and we could work out the details and keep moving forward. That never happened. I was informed by Mr. Mexico that Taz had a drug problem with cocaine. He also informed he that he didn’t have contact with Taz. The blame was placed on my shoulders. I got the drop and I didn’t follow through. Mr. Mexico and I kept in close contact to gain each others respect and trust. This all fell right in my lap. Yeah ,I got Mr. Mexico looking to me for payment for a drop that I received. I went into fine detail on what I had and I prayed it wasn’t going to turn into the Mexican Mafia at my house to cut me up into little pieces like you may see in the movies. 

I had to move back to my hometown 

      After getting the courts to agree to transfer my probation back to Tuscarawas County. We planned our trip back home. 

Prison time for me!

        I kept in close contact with Mr. Mexico. He trusted me now and scratched any of my debt. Seeing he found out what really happened with Taz. Water under the bridge. I involved 2 more people in my action plan for shipments. Things were rolling good, no issues and exchanges were fine to all 3 places. About a year into working for Mr. Mexico we were planning a trip down after this next shipment. One package came through. Done deal! Second Package was coming to me. Plan was set into play, phone calls were over. Now just waiting. This one was late, 3 days late. I broke the rule of thumb. We were to walk away. Not accept the package. This was a turn of events. Seeing the past couple years were just fine. No issues from either end. Mr. Mexico even told me he thought he had a good thing going with the Post office official in Mexico. The package hits the drop house. 3 days late! Little did we know the package already had a search warrant into play in Cleveland Ohio. A bug was set inside. When the package was opened, the Feds were coming in for the bust. The package sat at the drop house for over an hour. The Feds were set up for the bust. The drop house let it sit and were waiting for us to pick it up. I was at work at the time. I sent over another hand to pick it up. Meanwhile the Feds waited long enough and went into the drop house. The package was not opened. The young man there was scared and opened up with the whole story of what was going down, in detail. Not my details, only what he knew! Wide open, scared and ready to tell anything he could so he wouldn’t go to jail. When my hand went for the pick up, the Feds played it out the way they needed to. The drop house called my hand to come pick up the package. They called me and I informed them to take care of it. The Feds had all their people in place. One was washing a car out front. 2 more guys were in a look out car while the drop house and package were wired. Their plan was set. Ours was about to take a nose dive for the worst. Life changing event was building right under my feet, Was it God’s plan to build this journey. I thought I was in control. The pick up hand took a friend. Young and dumb as we all were. Never thinking about the next step in life or the rules that were set into play by Mr. Mexico. I was heading down the road for my second felony. They hit the steps and the drop house guy handed them the package and shut the door. The pick up hand didn’t see it coming, guns drawn! Faces on the ground the Feds yelled. No reply from the pick up hands. They were in shock, didn’t see this coming. On the ground, face down hands behind your heads the Feds yelled again.  

             Was this real? As real as it gets

           This fast track to the slammer was heading my way next. It was my turn for the eye-opening surprise. Again, wires set in place on my pick up hand from the Feds. Their surprise was about to hit my door step and rock my world. I was still on probation for the fight I was in, fresh out of  High School. Like I stated, my pick up hand was wired now,Feds parked In front of my house. My cousin and I were playing Playstation on the couch. This scene added more people than expected, the ripple effect was a lot broader than my mind could imagine. She comes in, we say hello. The package is dropped in front of me! I looked up, up to a scared face. Calm talking, but scared. She had a note pad. Said they were outside. It’s over! I tried to stay calm. I personally had so many phone numbers and money I had to hide. More information from Mr. Mexico that would have tripled these charges I was about to get placed on my back. It was a good thing I just finished watching Good Fellas the night before. She bought me some time with small talk while still writing messages. I stashed all I could in the seemingly 5 minutes it took for them to bust in my door. Just enough time to escape an extra 10 years in Prison. I knew they had her working information out of me. I did realize that, played it cool and didn’t say anything to incriminate myself or anyone else. It was a matter of time before they came in, I knew it and she knew it. My cousin did not. Sitting there, still playing a Madden Football game.

These images are still in my mind to this day!

       Probation, breaking the rules, jail, loss of freedom, a way out! All of this played through my head. Just jump out the window and run. Hide, hide from all the bad choices I’ve made through out my life. I knew I was about to add another one in a few minutes if I jumped!

Facing my family, probation officer, court again and my trip to Prison is a whole other story. The fight really starts there. Knocking out the Devil and putting this continued path to rest. This lifestyle had to come to an end. These next steps of my journey seemed to become a turn for the better. I knew I still had a long road ahead of me. With the Feds outside of my house, life continued to knock me down. Trips and falls along the way. Did I have the strength to get through what was about to occur. My father’s path of being defeated by this world was always a way out that stuck in the back of my mind. I could end it all by checking out, giving up or fight back? I only knew to fight back. As the years passed before this moment I knew this would all make sense one day. My Journey with God holding me up. I felt I also carried the same cross He carried, He never gave up. I was not raised in a spiritual environment, I felt the strength of something else working through me all of my life. It was time to find out what that was.

 Jason Freebird Freeman

I am a Frontline Warrior

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