Former homeless man turns life around, reunites with family for the holiday

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — WWAY first introduced Frank Lewis during Thanksgiving, when he decided to turn his life around.

Frank ended 10 years of homelessness in Wilmington and checked himself into rehab. Little did he know that his decision to get sober changed not only his life, but his sister’s as well.

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“It’s like I got a second lease on life,” Frank said.

It has been nearly two months since Frank went from living on the streets of Wilmington to getting the help he needed to turn his life around.

“I’m more aware of God, he’s my savior. If it wasn’t for him I probably would have went down the toilet,” Frank said.

Thanks to friends like Joey Upchurch and Jason Mitchell, Frank is on the right track to becoming a new man.

“It’s humbling just to be a small part of a testimony that’s being created in Frank’s life. Something that is going to be I believe able to touch many other people’s lives, families who are struggling with somebody who is caught up in addiction. Or somebody who themselves is caught up in addiction, or homelessness, or whatever the case is Frank’s going to be a testimony for them,” pastor, Jason Mitchell said.

Frank is getting sober just in time for Christmas.

“I can’t remember the last time I had a sober holiday,” Frank said.

Frank’s sister, Phyllis Lewis Bowman cannot remember the last time he was sober either.

“I’m excited, ya know this is a whole new life for him. I mean he hasn’t been sober probably since he was 16 years old,” Bowman said.

It’s a new beginning for the both of them, it is a fresh start Phyllis never thought was possible. She had no idea Frank checked into rehab, when she did not hear from him on her birthday or Thanksgiving she thought the worst had happened to him.

“So a friend of mine and I went down to the woods and started looking for him,” Bowman said.

Phyllis put up flyers shortly after, hoping to find him. What she got was something even better, a friend saw his story on WWAY and shared the good news sparking a surprise reunion.

“And now I’ve got a sober brother I couldn’t be happier. I mean this is the best Christmas present I could have gotten is to see my brother and see him sober. And I want to thank everybody here for doing that because otherwise he may be one of the people I see on the news dead in a ditch because he was homeless so long,” Bowman said.

Homeless for nearly 10 years, it is a lifestyle Frank swears he is never going back to.

“It’s amazing, I just hope she has the faith and keeps the faith in me because I’m going to do it. I’m going to finish what I started,” Frank said.

Staying sober, a Christmas wish come true for many who love and care about Frank.