Tampa Tribune Letter of the Day: A source of peace in a rough life


Tampa Tribune Letter of The Day: A source of peace in a rough life

I once enjoyed reading my TBT (Tampa Bay Times) every day on my bus ride to work until one day I read an article that could not have been well researched before being printed, and couldn’t be further from the truth. I couldn’t believe the nerve of this paper to print such trash about my pastor, Pastor Tom Atchison of New Beginnings, a true man of God. My first thoughts were, “Why would anyone want to bash someone in print without doing research, without a thought in the world of what ramifications could derive from this attempt to bring down a homeless recovery program that does nothing but good for people daily?”

Let me tell you a story about a man who was DOA at Tampa General with a 103-degree fever and a bad MRSA staph infection, who was resuscitated and packed in ice, then fell into a coma for seven days to awake to a room full of amazed doctors and nurses looking at me like a lab rat or something.

After a few days of observation, a social worker came to see me and asked where I would go upon release. I was homeless at the time, living in the woods behind a day labor place. I had nothing and nowhere to return to. She gave me Pastor Tom’s card for New Beginnings, and a cab voucher. I arrived with a tank top, flip flops and a pair of cut-offs. Nothing else but a strong desire to find God and thank him for this borrowed time.

To make a long story short, he rained blessings on me through my newfound church family. I’ve since changed my whole view of the world, and I give thanks to my savior Jesus Christ for putting God’s children in my life to show me love.

On several more stays at the center, I ended up working my way onto staff as PT’s (Pastor Tom’s) assistant at the church offices, where I slowly earned the pastor’s trust — to the point where every key to every vehicle the church and program owned was in my office. The church’s checkbooks were in my care, which I thoroughly abused upon my relapse. After $2,000 worth of bad checks to my dope man, the gig was up and my crimes were revealed. If I had done these crimes to an average person, I would still be in prison. But my pastor, a true man of God, just made me confess my sins to my probation officer. My violation got me 22 months in prison — far less than my crimes deserved.

During that time my actions caused my pastor some very embarrassing moments, as the bad checks started coming in, which was no fault of his. This man of God actually took me back in when I got out of prison.

 All this said, I can’t think of one bad thing to say about Pastor Tom and the whole New Beginnings/New Life Pentecostal Church family. This story just scratches the surface of my many stories about this place. Everyone there is human and will make mistakes, but no one there is out to get anyone. They want souls to find God as the source of peace in a rough life, steering these less fortunate people on the path to recovery.

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My prayers are with New Beginnings and Pastor Tom


I was Marchman acted to detox and a rehab facility and 2000. I live in DeSoto County, a town named Arcadia. Once I got done with detox no rehab would take me due to the fact that I was from Arcadia. After waiting two weeks in detox new beginnings interviewed me and accepted me into their program. I started out with no money no job nothing. I worked and volunteering my time in the beginning to clear my head and to help with my living costs. I got a job later and started being a productive member of society. Due to my past I had some things hanging over my head, which one was me running from a taxi cab. So after being in the program for eight months I was pulled over for a traffic citation and put in the county jail in a city north of Tampa.

After calling the pastor and letting him know what had happened, he took money out of his own pocket and bonded me out of jail. This is coming from a pastor of the church that barely has known me for a period of eight months. He signed his name and put his own money up to get me out of jail.

After released I went back to the program continued working and migrating back into society. Before coming to the program I grew up in a Catholic church and was raised Christian. Pastor Tom is the first Pastor I got to know on a friend basis and the director of the program. I was never was involved in church I only used to go to church hear the message and leave.

Pastor Tom opened his heart up and his life up to me, there is never a day or month that goes by that I do not think about the love, the unconditional love he has shown me. Yes I am human and I made some mistakes and fell down while I was in Tampa. Pastor Tom has continued to trust and believe in me and when I fell down he held out his hand and pulled me up and put me on my feet and got me going in the right direction.



I am very saddened to hear the news about the New Beginnings of Tampa program. Everyone that is saying bad things or negative things to the program I encourage them to open their house up open their life up to homeless people. It is very easy to point the finger and say someone is a bad person.

The better and the more manly thing to do is to take action and not only rely on new beginnings and new life church to help out people that are less fortunate. What happens to the people like me, the people that are from a different county and cannot get in to the state-funded rehabs?


If it was not for New Beginnings of Tampa, there’s no doubt in my mind that I would be dead right now.


I now live in Arcadia, I have my own pressure washing company (Motivated Pressure Washing). I am a productive member of society I go to meetings and I go to church. New beginnings has taught me that I not only need Jesus and a church in my life but I also need to go to meetings on a daily basis to help me keep what I have. There is no amount of bad words or bad publicity that could make me have an ill feeling for New Beginnings of Tampa or Pastor Tom. Like I said I encourage anyone that has a bad word or a bad feeling for new beginnings to open a house put homeless people inside the house and you watch over it.

I really would like to see them open their lives and their hearts up to a person that is ugly, beaten up and looks like crap. My prayers are with New Beginnings and Pastor Tom will forever be on my heart and my mind as a savior who used Jesus Christ to change my life.

Thank you and if you need anything at all please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Lance Hastings

If you or someone you know needs help with substance abuse or hardships. Please contact New Beginnings of Tampa and we will help or get you the help you need.



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Is it the goal of the Tampa Bay Times to have homeless on the street again?

Is-it-the-goal-of-the-Tampa-Bay-Times-to-have-homeless-on-the-street-againIn 2010 my life fell apart. To be honest I had been a slight mess for a long time, but in 2010, right when I was getting my life together, it all came tumbling down around me. I can’t blame anyone but myself, of course. I made all those bad decisions. I chose to use drugs, I chose to steal money from my family’s businesses. I did it to myself.

At the end of a 5 or 6 month rollercoaster, I found myself homeless, friendless, outcast by my family, and nowhere to turn. I found New Beginnings on the internet, and thought to myself, “you know, perhaps a spiritually geared program is what I need”. The best part was that they accepted me, without insurance, and without any money in my pocket. I didn’t have a job, or any prospect really of finding one. They said, “Don’t worry about that, just stop using right now, and come in to see us”

To make a long story short, It took me awhile and one more try out there, and then back to New Beginnings, but now I have been clean for 3 years, and have a base of spirituality inside that I never had before. I got that at New Beginnings. I worked hard, both on myself, and for New Beginnings, but that is what I needed! Had I just sat around smoking cigarettes and complaining about how unfair the world is all day, I would not be here right now. I was thankful that I had a way to pay my program fees.

Reading the articles in the Tampa Bay Times, and some of the comments left by people are breaking my heart. It seems like Hobson is on the warpath against Pastor Tom. He doesn’t deserve it, I know he works just as hard or harder running the program and the church than any of the clients do, and most days barely has a free minute. And I have seen with my own eyes the lifestyle that he leads. It is far from Swanky, I’ll tell you that.

The saddest part though that the victims of this debacle will be the 120 or so men and women who depend upon New Beginnings for shelter and guidance. What happens to them? Is it the goal of the Times to have them all on the street again, maybe using drugs, maybe stealing to support their habits, maybe doing worse? I know what I was like when I was out there, and New Beginnings not only saved me, but also the people that I definitely would have harmed had I kept on going the way I was.

In essence without New Beginnings, I most likely would be dead now, and I probably would have done some very bad things in the process of getting there.

I’m begging Will Hobson and the Times to stop thinking about awards, and start thinking about the end game here. How is this going to end? I think instead of making accusations and assumptions we should ALL including Hobson, the NFL, MLB, and The Times, be trying to figure out what we can do to HELP this wonderful little organization.

-Roger B.


Get help for substance abuse. If you or someone you know has a problem with substance abuse in Tampa and need help. Contact New Beginnings of Tampa and we will help or help get the help needed for substance abuse.

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My name is Mike. I’m an addict.

my-name-is-mike-i-am-an-addict-new-beginnings-of-tampaMy name is Mike. I’m an addict. I can’t begin to count the number of times I introduced myself that way during dozens of failed attempts at substance abuse recovery.

I spent 35 years drinking and drugging. I have served 13 county jail sentences, 1 prison term, and 2 court ordered rehab programs. I have 3 DUI convictions, been classified a habitual drunk driver, and had my license suspender for 10 years. At one point my craving for drugs left me living on the streets of Tampa.

I spent 3 years living on the street.

In November of 2000 I checked myself in to detox. Not because I believed it would do me any good. Just needed to get some sleep and a few meals in my worn out body. While there I met Pastor Tom Atchison. He was talking to people about New Beginnings of Tampa and I was one of the first 13 men and women that moved in to his Chilkoot unit.

I didn’t have any intention to stay there, but detox is only for a few days and I needed more rest. But change occurred. I began to embrace a new lifestyle and I stayed there for over three years, surrounded by people that truly care about others and strive to make a difference in this world.


Today I live a very normal life. I work full time, sleep in my own bed, eat my own food, and I wont be on the corner begging you for money that I will promptly run to the drug dealer with. I also wont be driving down your streets taking the lives of you and your family in my drunken hands.


Thank you Pastor Tom for your much needed help. What an awesome vision you have. I cant thank you enough. Neither can the people of Tampa.

Mike Fugate
Still alive and well

Get help for substance abuse. If you or someone you know has a problem with substance abuse in Tampa and need help. Contact New Beginnings of Tampa and we will help or help get the help needed for substance abuse.



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If not for New Beginnings of Tampa I would not be alive today

If-not-for-New-Beginnings-of-Tampa-I-would-not-be-alive-today-New-Beginnings-of-TampaPastor Tom,

Before I was Blessed with being lead to New Beginnings I remember standing on a bridge in Ruskin about to jump, because all of my family had passed away one by one within a two year period of time. Shortly since this happening I lost my Faith in God, my direction, and my hope, I gave up on life and living.

After a short time of not going to Church where I had fellowship with others who live for the Lord, and going to A.A. where I also addressed my Alcohol addiction problem and found strength, I then soon started drinking again, and now my problems were worse.

I truly felt lost and alone for the first time in my life. I started having thoughts of taking my life and planning it. One night I found myself standing on a bridge in Ruskin ready to give up and jump. I could not do it only because my belief in God, and Jesus Christ being my Lord and Savior did I at the last moment have a change of heart about jumping off of that bridge, and instead went to a friend and shared my feelings about what I was going through and about to do. He called 911 and in turn I was Baker Acted where I was sent to North Side Mental Health Center for help.

I did not know where to go from there, they could not help me, except to give me pills and again I was at a feeling of hopelessness and thinking about suicide again. One of the Techs there told me about New Beginnings of Tampa and said it was a wonderful Faith Based Life Recovery Program that they could help me. I called and was set up with an appointment and interviewed and welcomed with open arms.

I want to express to you the greatest of thanks for what New Beginnings has done for me and continues to do each day. Because of New Beginnings I rededicated my Life to my Lord and Savior, I have direction and the greatest of hope. I have support here and people who understand what I feel, they are full of love and compassion.

This is my home now, as well as my family. This is where I am loved and cared for and all of my needs are met. People are saying some very wrong things about New Beginnings and are being mislead, they are not true. I have never been forced to work doing anything, but instead asked if I wanted to go to help out at the warehouse or to rake some leaves up to keep the property nice, or to go to the stadium to help out which honestly was really enjoyable, because I got to watch the games.

I never mind volunteering with out hesitation because it’s part of my recovery to help out and do my part because this is my home for now, until I get myself together, find a job, save money and step back out on my own where I can handle things. I worked harder before I came to New Beginnings just trying to make ends meet and pay my bills. Here all my needs are met and only asked to help out a few hours a day if that and focus on my recovery and growing in the Lord.

I want to express my deepest sincerity when I say thank you for helping me the way you have and New Beginnings because if not for New Beginnings of Tampa I would not be alive today. So thank you so much for saving my life, but also saving my soul. God Bless You and New Beginnings for everything you do and continue to do for not only me but, all of the Brothers here.


Kenneth Engelthaler


It is NEVER TOO LATE to get help for substance abuse. If you or someone you know has a problem with substance abuse in Tampa and need help. Contact New Beginnings of Tampa and we will help or help get the help needed for substance abuse.


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A letter of testimony from US Army veteran Lloyd White regarding New Beginnings of Tampa

US-Army-veteran-Lloyd-White-regarding-New-Beginnings-of-TampaDear Pastor Tom Atchison and fellow readers,

I like to get the record straight on a few things concerning New Beginings, My name is Lloyd White u.s. army veteran. I was almost at my wits end one night as I called the veterans hotline. After loosing a small business and home living in and out of hotels I was ready to end it all. That night. The Sheriffs office brought me to a safe place and then the next morning I was directed to this place called New Beginnings. A place where a veteran could get help and comfort. At first I did not like it but the love and warmth soon overcame me.

The staff and fellow vets was so warm and kind the surroundings soon became a place to grow in. At times God needs to shut a door in our life to allow the spirit of God to talk to us and open new doors. He knew I needed a new start in life cause the one I was in was not working.

One day I needed to go to the VA for a back pain ,normally I would have dismissed the thought of going to the hospital. But the VA staff worker insisted I go. I went to the ER and they took simple vitals, to my amazement they found a heart problem, with a simple blood pressure check while waiting for the back doctor. They soon found a vib and v vib,and kept me there for days. They said I had a serious heart disease called cardio myapathy, it required a diphibulator and pace maker to be placed in me. Basically I was dying of heart failure and didn’t know it. But God had a plan for me and he was going to see it through.

When God has a plan for us even we can’t mess it up, he won’t allow us too. Sometimes we have to be in a place to hear him. What I’m saying is if it wasn’t for being placed here at New Beginnings I can only feel that I may not be here today. The influience of the people here helped me to make the right decession to go the hospital. As I said normaly I would not have gone on my own I was to wrapped up in a shear road to Hell.

I can only tell you of the sure success stories of the lives touched by the program here, God has used this place to touch so many, even more for the vets, these men fought on the streets to make it safe, not to sleep on them. New Beganings has taken us off the streets and gave us a home.

My whole life has been changed and I’m a better man for it. I’m growing more each day. It,s not just a program, it has been way of life for me and so many others. I just wanted to thank pastor Tom and the staff here for the hand up in life and chance to be a better man in Christ. I can only pray that this life changing place will be able to continue and grow.

Thanks New Beginnings for a job well done.

Sincerly,LLoyd White

Vet Program , New Beginnings

If you are a veteran in need of help with homelessness, drug recovery or any kind of hardship in Tampa. Please contact New Beginnings of Tampa and we will be glad to help or find the help you need.

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New beginnings gave me the structure I so sorely needed. I have been clean and sober for over six and a half years.

February 2009 was the worst month of my life. My mother had died after a long battle with heart disease. I had just been discharged from my job , due to my alcoholism, and my world was coming down around me.


My Ex-wife, family, and everyone else had given up on me, and probably so had I. I prayed and then GOD lead me to New Beginnings. God put pastor Tom Atichison (PT) in my path He told me I was in the right place to find the solitude I needed. He told me it was a work therapy program, I would have to work around the property for 90 days, there was no discussion of how I would pay my way. It was never important to New Beginnings they wanted me to recover from my 30 year battle with alcoholism.

New Beginnings gave me the structure I so sorely needed. I have been clean and sober for over six and a half years.

I also received the funding from New Beginnings to received a Birth Certificate, Social Security card, Florida Id and have been reunited with my Daughter,Family members all due To Pastor Tom, Miss Ginny and New Beginning’s staff.

The falsehoods represented By the uninformed reporters (Will Hobson and the Tampa Bay Times) that want to sell papers rather than give the simple truth That New Beginnings of Tampa is a FAITH based LIFE RECOVERY program that works without a person’s financial situation or government funding coming in to their recovery.

I know people can’t comprehend a program That actually  cares about their clients rather than the bank account of the program.


Jeremy Bowen


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New Beginnings – “This place saved my life”

Dakodah is a former gang member who decided to turn things around, and did so with the help of staff at New Beginnings of Tampa. “Anything you need, these people help you.”

He says he could have been dead, “This place saved my life” and “This place has given me a better outlook on life”.

We are very blessed to have him in our lives and at only twenty one years old,  he has a life that makes him feel better .

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New Beginnings of Tampa Testimonial

New Beginnings a Non Profit 501(c)(3)of Tampa Florida runs a large Transitional Housing and Homeless Recovery Program that provides unaccompanied women, men and young adults over the age 18 with a safe place to live and an individualized, gender-responsive program of guidance and job training programs to help them stabilize their lives. A large percentage of our clients are U.S. Veterans, persons who have bravely served their country.

If you or someone you know needs help with homelessness or drug recovery, please contact us today.


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Amazing Thank You

a2zprinthouse1  5.0 ♥♥♥♥♥ 04/2014

“New Beginnings of Tampa was a miracle life saver for my friend. His life was a mess no one could help him, His family thought he was a loss cause. Then he went to NBT they were so loving and helpful yes tough but he needed that and it saved his life. The staff are 100 percent committed to seeing lives changed and transformed through the power of God and walking through the steps to recovery.

This program is tough but fair you must be committed to becoming a new person and getting a new life to be successful. My friend always says you get what you put into it. We are so grateful to all the staff including the founder of New Beginnings Known as PT (Pastor Tom) he is so helpful and really cares about the people that no one else cares about. He told my friend “we will give you a hand up not a hand out” and he did.

My friend is doing great he uses the tools he learned at new beginnings every day and I believe he is free and transformed forever. Thank you New beginnings of Tampa and Pastor Tom for your daily sacrifice and commitment to saving lives one person at a time. God Bless You.”


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