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Monday, July 21, 2014

Voices: “I was a bad man. Now I’m a good man.”

By DON HIMSEL

Staff Writer

Robert Hicks stood outside of the Heritage Baptist Church after last week’s fire forced him and the rest of the congregation literally and figuratively out in the street. An investigation had started. Salvage had begun. The comparison to his own life, one that began in the church about 5 years ago, was obvious.

The congregation, said Hicks, is “like a family, stronger than most families are. We stick together in times like this. We can get through anything with The Lord on our side.” ...

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Robert Hicks stood outside of the Heritage Baptist Church after last week’s fire forced him and the rest of the congregation literally and figuratively out in the street. An investigation had started. Salvage had begun. The comparison to his own life, one that began in the church about 5 years ago, was obvious.

The congregation, said Hicks, is “like a family, stronger than most families are. We stick together in times like this. We can get through anything with The Lord on our side.”

Grateful and content with his faith, he reflects on his past life.

“I was a bad man. Now I’m a good man,” he said.

Hicks described himself and past behavior as “just a rebel, a lot of bad things.” He’s sparse with details, but did say drugs was an issue.

“I was the kind of man you didn’t want to talk to. I was headed down a road I didn’t want to go down, I didn’t want to take my kids down,” he told me.

“If more people went to church there’d be less crime,” he said.

Church life has “given me a whole different outlook on life,” he said. “It gives you blessings that you don’t think are possible.”

Hicks has been married 18 years.

“The last five years have been the best years of my life. You’d be surprised everybody wants to knock God out of things. We need more God in this world.

Hicks pauses after each question, but answers deliberately and with confidence.

“Moving forward?” I asked.

Hicks answers, “rebuild, recover and revive. There’s no other way we can do it. We’re going to be strong as a family we’re going to be stronger than we were before.”

Don Himsel can be reached at 594-6590 or dhimsel@nashua
telegraph.com. Also, follow Himsel on Twitter (@Telegraph_DonH).