ANGELINA COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - For prisoners, the holidays can be a painful reminder of what they miss when serving time behind bars, but some in the Angelina County Jail said finding things to be thankful for is easier than you think.
"It's ironic what I'm about to say, but I am thankful for being incarcerated because my drug addiction wouldn't let me be the person I am today," said Kevin Martin who is serving time for drug charges. "I have overcome my addiction by reading the word, getting with people that have the same addiction, and learning from my mistakes."
Martin isn't the only one wanting to turn his life around while in jail. Xavious Irvine said that through support from his family, and the people he has met while serving time, it has helped him overcome his own struggles.
"Being here around good people, that have been through the experiences I have been through. They have shown me, taught me, and put me more in the bible which has helped me a lot," Irvine said. "Holidays are probably the roughest part about being incarcerated. Birthdays, and seeing your loved ones want you to be home. I'm thankful they are still by my side they are all I have."
Sgt. Tommy Stovall has been with the Angelina County jail for almost a decade and says that watching lives change through their doors has impacted his own life.
"A lot of these guys were on some type of drug when the committed their crime, and when you break that addiction you can do anything as a person," Stovall said. "A lot of times after they get out and get their lives together I'll see some around town and they will run up and give me a hug and thank me for giving them help."
For Shawn Moore, he said his time behind bars was a way for him to learn to forgive himself for past mistakes, and become a better person for his family.
"I have done some bad things to some good people. I have done some good things for some bad people, but at the same time I have learned from it and I believe with all my heart that if given the chance, when I get out this time I am going to make a difference," Moore said.
Each inmate we spoke to has their own unique circumstance, but said they have used this time to become better. For Abel Lopez, he has leaned on the people he has met to help him learn from mistakes. Even through the struggles, he remains focused on the positive.
"I was supposed to go home last week, but they took my parole, but I am thankful to God," Lopez said. "It's probably not my time to go home yet, I think that means I have more to learn and as much as I miss my kids. I have to be better for them."
The Angelina County jail served their own Thanksgiving meal which was cooked and prepared by other inmates. They said during the holidays it is their biggest motivation to turn their life around so they don't have to miss another Thanksgiving with their family.