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This Richmond man struggled to find a job. His 'angel' helped him finally find one.

This Richmond man struggled to find a job. His 'angel' helped him finally find one.
Posted at 4:29 PM, Jul 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-13 16:29:34-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Last month during CBS6's Crime 360 coverage, we introduced you to Harvey Williams.

Harvey spent over two decades in prison until he was pardoned by former Governor Ralph Northam in 2020. After his pardon, he turned his life around. However, despite these changes, he still had a hard time finding a job.

"One of the worst things in the world to me is to be invisible. People see you, but don't see you, and you're right there," Williams said.

Now, Williams is finally getting the opportunity that he has prayed for since he re-entered the community two years ago.

"There are angels among us that people don't know about," Williams said.

His goal was always to find a well-paying job that would allow him to be a productive citizen. However, he said the places he went to find work wouldn't hire him because of his story.

That is until CBS6 viewers heard his transformation story.

This Richmond man struggled to find a job. His 'angel' helped him finally find one.

"I was willing to work for a living that I wanted to earn for myself and the Lord provided options, thanks to CBS News and your reporting and OAR," Williams said.

OAR stands for the Opportunity Alliance and Reentry of Richmond.

"That story just opened people's eyes so much. After it aired, we started getting emails and phone calls, like right away. People were messaging me through Facebook," Sara Dimick, the executive director of the organization, said.

The non-profit assists people who are incarcerated and people who are transitioning back into the community.

"The need is huge. I mean, 95% of our folks that are incarcerated are going to come home to our community. So if we look at that, even if they have long sentences, they are going to come home. Are we preparing folks for release to the best we could?"

On average, she said OAR provides resources to about 4,500 people a year.

"We will never be able to meet every person that comes out of incarceration ever," Dimick said.

This Richmond man struggled to find a job. His 'angel' helped him finally find one.

Harvey calls Sara one of his angels. They met for the first time for our interview.

"I never knew her, I never knew her name. But, because of her kindness, I've had somewhere to live that's kept me off the streets and able to focus on redirecting the course of my life," Williams said.

He is now celebrating his new role as a peer recovery specialist.

"I talk to clients and just basically help guide their decision making towards what's best for them moving forward in the future. Not making a decision for them, but helping to guide them," Williams said.

He is also working to get his license and certification in peer recovery. He wants to use his experience to inspire and advocate for others with similar obstacles.

"Governor Youngkin seems like a genuine man. I would love to talk to him, the secretary of public safety. I would like to have a conversation with all of those people who are in charge. They need to see the value of reformed convicted felons," Williams said.

This Richmond man struggled to find a job. His 'angel' helped him finally find one.

With his past behind him, Harvey said he now intends to be seen as part of the solution.

"Don't just put a label on me and see me as having no value when I just may have the answers that you need," Williams said.

OAR is always looking for help and donations. If you would like to learn more, you can visit their website to learn more.