ROSEVILLE — A locked gate was all that separated the entrance to a homeless shelter outside the Salvation Army in Roseville.
“We were fortunate to even have a roof over our head,” Johnnie Castro said.
For Castro, who used to be homeless, the entrance serves as a reminder of his time living at the shelter along with his wife.
“Most people in life will think that this is an elevator, but for me and my wife, this was home,” Castro said.
Although his eyes tell a story of a changed man, Castro says his past still haunts him. He became homeless back in 2011 after abusing drugs and alcohol.
“Went to prison twice within my time span between the ages of 25 and 48,” he said. “I had two bouts of incarceration with California CDC, California Department of Corrections.”
But he’s one of many who stepped foot into the Salvation Army to make a change.
“That person who gave me the inspiration to do the things that I can do and that I’m doing currently is a gentleman by the name of Thomas Gallahue,” Castro said.
Gallahue has dedicated his life to helping people living on the street and dealing with addiction like Castro.
He remembers the first time Castro walked in for help.
“He reached out to me or came to me and I met with him. I just gave the olive branch. I put my name and telephone number on a piece of paper, handed it to him and I told him if he ever needed anything to get with me,” Gallahue said.
Now, three years later, Castro is clean. He’s renting a home with his wife and he’s on the honor roll at Sierra College.
Castro says he has dreams that stretch far beyond the struggles he faced in the past and hopes his story gives others hope that they can overcome their own addictions.