Most of you, there is no doubt, would not have liked Bob, Gregg or Anthony.
That would have been especially true if you were their neighbor, their classmate or co-worker.
Law enforcement? Absolutely not.
I believe it would also be true if you were their sibling or parent.
Truth is, they would not have liked you, either, except if you were a means toward feeding their drug habit.
Bob Pavlich is from Poland, Gregory Todd is from East Liverpool, and Anthony Sanders is from Warren.
Gregory and Bob are both 32, and Anthony is 23. For their combined 87 years on Earth, 30 of them have been in the throes of tortuous drug addiction.
To each, his drug addiction was a personal demon. But the illicit and criminal behavior that accompanied that addiction was hell for everyone they encountered.
Each blazed a long, wide trail in his respective town.
Anybody who knows them and now sees that they are in this article is likely expecting that they are tied to a criminal news event.
You have every right to expect that, they’d tell you.
But they have a story they want you to know, as do 40 of their brothers.
They all work or reside in what once was Cafaro Memorial Hospital (previously, Youngstown Osteopathic Hospital), just north of Wick Park on Youngstown’s North Side.
Since March 2009, it’s been called Ohio Valley Teen Challenge. The name is a bit misleading as the residents are men in their 20s, 30s and beyond. Though they are men biologically, within those walls, they are learning to become men by deeds.
Next Sunday, we’ll tell their story, and we’ll tell it in a way that you’ve not seen in The Vindicator in some time.
The guys at OVTC opened their lives, and with that access, we opened our pages to offer you what amounts to be a nonfiction book over the course of seven days. It’s lengthy story-telling that will be complemented with seven online webisodes.
The project is a partnership between The Vindicator and Youngstown State University’s TheNewsOutlet.org.
YSU student journalist Doug Livingston and Vindy staffer Geoff Hauschild spent the summer at OVTC. They followed the guys’ lives from chapel to dining hall to work assignments at Canfield Fair to expulsion.
The stories Doug and Geoff pull from their summer-long experience are tragic and startling. You likely will hate much of what these 40 guys have meant to the Valley, to their neighborhoods and to their families.
But you might also find inspiration because inside those old hospital walls, broken lives change.
We all have challenges in our lives, though most are less tragic and harmful to others than the OVTC guys have experienced. With the challenges around our Valley, in our leadership and in our economy, it’s fair to ask, “Will this work? Will this change? Is this worth it?”
Some days, sometimes and with some people, it is worth it.
The series “Broken Lives” will explore that.
It starts next Sunday and continues through Nov. 7.