Joe Tarasuk was abused by a man when he was only 7, hid it from everyone, including himself, and tried to get on with his life.
He excelled in sports in school, but drifted afterwards and ended up using and selling drugs. He was climbing the ladder of “success” in the drug business, but was the “most miserable person on the face of the earth”.
Joe gave his life to Christ in 1986 after being stopped by police on Interstate 95 in Georgia.
At that moment he felt complete relief and surrendered his life to the Lord even before he arrived at the police station and jail!
When the sheriff asked if he was guilty, he said “Yes sir, I’m guilty!”
The sheriff saw something in Joe and decided to take a chance on him.
The sheriff used his influence to keep Joe in the local jail instead of shipping him off to prison, and put him to work talking to the community about the dangerous road of drugs and drug addiction.
Because of Joe’s obviously contrite heart, earnest desire to walk a different path and his growing faith, he was released after serving only 18 months of his 35 year sentence. He had been given a second chance!
Since that time, Joe has dedicated his life to serving Christ and sharing his testimony of hope and freedom with others who have been incarcerated.
After his jail sentence was reduced and he was free, Joe found work in the flooring business where he proved himself to be a productive and creative employee. He was gradually given more responsibility, and developed many friendships, some of which led to additional jobs for his company.
Eventually the owner allowed him to take some of those customers and start his own company. Joe spent the next several years launching a very successful business. In the meantime he had been clean and sober for many years, but he was not free.
He still had a gnawing ache inside that made it a struggle every day to feel at peace with himself. The shame of his past still haunted him.
That’s when he found the Celebrate Recovery program. Through the twelve biblically-grounded steps, he found real healing by sharing about the hurt and pain he carried from his past.. Deeply grateful for the gift of complete freedom – because of the loving mentoring by that Georgia sheriff, because of his walk with the Lord, and because of the healing work done in the Celebrate Recovery program – Joe felt a call to give back to others some of what had been given to him.
Thus was born the dream of CrossRoads Freedom Center.
Joe’s life has been a testimony to God’s goodness, grace, and forgiveness. He tells his full story in his book, “Against All Odds“.
In 2009, he received the Montgomery County Department of Corrections award for Volunteer of the Year and in 2011 the President’s Volunteer Service Award from the President’s council on Service and Civic Participation.
Joe is married to Maria Tarasuk and together they are building CrossRoads Freedom Center to be a place of hope for many in need of recovery through Christ.