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From Cass County Jail to "I do" - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

From Cass County Jail to "I do"

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FARGO, N. D. -- By saying "I do" Thursday night it was further evidence of progress for the groom James Williams. Years ago Williams had a run in with the law and was sentenced to jail. Valley News Live learned how the Second Chance program helped James and others enter back into society.

It's a new beginning.

"You may kiss the bride."

The new Mr. and Mrs. Williams. They met five years ago at a local restaurant when James was still battling personal issues. Now, it's a second chance at life for someone who came from a broken family.

"Due to that I made a lot of poor decision making as I grew up," said James.

As a teenager James struggled with drugs and went to jail for driving underage and influence. From chained wrists to a chained heart, Thursday is all about second chances.

The Jail Chaplain's Second Chance program helps returning citizens find balance and faith so that they can re-enter into society.
 
"My biggest fear was relapsing," said James. "Knowing that I had access to alcohol or even drugs and not able to cope with the stress without having my family or being homeless."

While serving time in Cass County Jail, James started attending ministry bible studies. He told Valley News Live finding faith has made him a stronger father and now, husband. Providing up to 20 hours of faith based programming a week, Jail Chaplains aim to guide confused souls to make healthier choices.

"I think it gives people hope," said Former First Lady and program Chair Board Nancy Schafer. "I think they can look at others who have been through the program who have attended our studies in the Cass County Jail and they see the difference that it makes, the joy that it gives people."

"The jail ministry, you know, Second Chances has been so important because, James has turned into a good christian man," said the bride Sawain Williams. "You know, someone that is responsible that stopped all the bad habit of drugs and alcohol."

The program even hosted the wedding. Those allowed to attend the picnic were fellow returned citizens, who shared their stories.

"I am living proof that even the most evil of us can change through Jesus Chris," said James.

Now, the married couple can continue on growing their family and leaving the past behind.

Generous donations provided everything at the Cass County Jail Chaplains Picnic to make a memorable day for the bridal couple.

This was the second year the Jail Chaplains have hosted the picnic for former inmates and hope to expand next year.
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