HENDERSON, Texas (KETK) – A once homeless man in East Texas is praising God after his bizarre journey to a life recovery center.

Along the way, an unexpected friendship was formed, leaving this nomad on his path to sobriety, especially grateful for law enforcement.

Jared Morentin’s story all begins with “heart.” A heart to change, restart, and rebuild a once broken life again from the ground up. “I was always in jail on the streets using drugs,” said Morentin.

Like many, Morentin said he was feeling lost, but understood ditching his life full of drugs, alcohol, and time in the cellar was a good place to start.

So, that’s exactly what he did. Dedicated to his second chance at life, Jared found himself hitching a ride on a coal train in Shreveport. This is where he separated himself from most.

It was not your typical “Metrolink”-styled train ride. Morentin battled the frigid temperatures of a mid-December night, blanketing himself in coal as his only means for slight warmth.

Morentin then hopped off, landing himself near a power plant in Tatum. That’s when officers were called.

“I got off the train, ended up at a security box at a power plant,” said Morentin.

Employees at the power plant spotted Morentin and called authorities on a trespassing complaint, which at first seemed like a setback.

Rusk County Deputy, Stephen Martin then arrived at the scene, but to Morentin’s surprise, after being caught trespassing, the deputy showed grace.

“I told him I’d do anything I can do to help him out, so I brought him into town, brought him to Gateway,” he tells us. Deputy Martin gave him a ride to a gas station in Henderson called ‘Gateway’, right off of Highway 79. His generosity didn’t stop there.

“I turn around and officer Martin was at the ATM. He turns around and hands me 100 dollars and says Merry Christmas,” said Morentin.

 “Be that guy that stops, be that samaritan that washes the wounds and bandages them up, and takes care of people.”

Deputy Stephen Martin, Rusk county Sheriff’s office

For both Morentin and Deputy Martin, their interaction was short-lived but powerful. Morentin left, what he calls, their “divine intervention,” inspired to start his journey ditching a life of addiction for a better one.

“I’m not gonna let the devil put a period where God puts a comma, you know. The story isn’t over.” 

Jared Morentin, wiseman life recovery, resident

After Deputy Martin’s gesture, Morentin then found himself at the doorstep of Wiseman Life Recovery in Henderson, just a few blocks over. “I’m very grateful for my opportunity to change my life and the direction it was going in,” said Morentin.

“The gesture that the officer did for me, I felt in my heart that I didn’t want to go down the wrong path again.”

jared morentin

Morentin has begun his process of healing and has been an avid resident at Wiseman Life Recovery for the past six months. He was baptized Sunday along with three other residents in his ministry.