Reformed gang member turned motivational speaker and author – Drexel Deal – visited several schools on Abaco with his wife on March 20-24. In 2014, Deal released a book called, “The Fight Of My Life Is Wrapped Up In My Father.”
While visiting Central Abaco Primary School (CAPS), he was impressed with the children’s singing and quoting of Bible verses as he and several guests were escorted to their seats. As a storyteller, Deal shared how he had grown up in Montell Heights, and how he had enjoyed a good family life until the age of five.
Heartbreakingly, his father abandoned them only to return weeks later, but Deal’s mother put her foot down. He chronicled his father’s botched attempt to kill them, and it was only because his mother woke up to make a bottle that she realized their house was on fire. Another time, his father came back and poured oil paint all over their belongings destroying everything they owned.
It was no surprise that Deal grew up to become a bitter, angry young man, which resulted in fights at school, being sent to prison, and him joining a gang called the Rebellion Raiders. After an internal war erupted in the gang, and a hit was made on his life by the leader of the gang, Deal still did not get the message to change his lifestyle. Instead, he continued to spiral out of control.
During his remarks, Deal left the students with four messages: honour your parents, attend church, listen, and be careful how you treat people. He explained that honour is another word for respect. Deal also told the students to listen to their parents and obey them by quoting Exodus 20:12 as he spoke.
Although his mother saw things before they happened like predicting that he would go to prison twice, he did not heed her warnings. She even told him how he would make his bed next to a slop bucket, and sure enough Deal found himself in prison unable to get away from a persistent, bad scent. Finally, when he looked around the cell that he shared with other inmates, he discovered that the slop bucket was right behind him.
On to his second point regarding attending church, Deal recalled that his mother would keep telling him to stop ducking church. As an example, she would tell the story of a young man who attended their church and is now in a wheelchair because of the life he lived. The young man lived a reckless life never attending church until he ended up a wheelchair now every Sunday he had no choice but to attend church.
One night his mother warned him not to go out with friends because she had a bad feeling that something was going to happen. As far as he was concerned, Deal believed he was an adult at the age of 21. He reassured his mother that he would be back within 30-45 minutes.
That never happened.
Deal was involved in an attempted armed robbery while out, and was shot four times. In the end, Deal lost his eyesight.
“Proverbs chapter one, verses eight and nine says to listen to your mother and father’s instruction – it makes you look good like when you wear a gold chain around your neck,” he said. “It did not go well with me because I did not listen.
“Listen to your teachers and older people when they talk because life will be better for you.”
He added that when you follow your parents’ commandments, it makes it easier to follow God’s commandments.
Deal’s final point was on how to treat people. In the tenth grade, Deal was transferred from C.I. Gibson High School to R.M. Bailey High School. As he was walking the campus with five of his friends, a male student accidentally walked into him. Deal was disrespectful to him, but the guy walked off without a word.
Not long after, Deal was talking to a girl and trying to get her telephone number. All of a sudden, he recognized the same guy he had run into before. However, this time the guy was flanked by at least 20 of his friends. Deal ended up getting the beating of his lifetime. He managed to hit the guy one time before all of his friends grabbed him and kicked him repeatedly as he lie on the ground.
“All I could see was shoe marks all over my white pants,” he chuckled. “The lesson in this story was that you may have the upper hand today, but the next day you may not have the upper hand. Treat people the way you want to be treated.”
Extending an invitation to students wanting to give their lives to the Lord, Deal led them in prayer and shared a story of a friend who witnessed the 9/11 attacks.
Sixth Grade Student J’Shon Sands gave the vote of thanks, and Principal Beatrice Moxey ended the ceremony with closing remarks. Several members from the Pilot Club of Abaco members were in attendance at Deal’s speaking engagement. He explained to them that he would disperse the 20 books they had donated among three schools on the island. Mr. Deal was also assisted by the Rotary Club of Abaco.
During his visit to schools in the Abaco district, the Deals also visited Abaco Central High School (ACH), Long Bay School, Forest Heights Academy, Fox Town Primary, Treasure Cay Primary School, Amy Roberts Primary School, Cooper’s Town Primary School, Crossing Rocks Primary School, James A. Pinder Primary School, S.C. Bootle High School, Cherokee Primary School, St. Francis de Sales School, Agape Christian School and Moore’s Island All-Age School.