Monday, January 21, 2008
Last week Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R) held a reception at his home for the recipients of 2007 Points of Light Awards, and other special award winners. Among those in attendance was one Brenda Owens-Philhower. Philhower began drinking and selling marijuana at age 13. She was arrested in 1991 for failing to return a rental car. She then moved from the use of qualudes to crack cocaine. After a six month stint in jail for burglary, she became a prostitute and was arrested for drug possession. After another 18 months in prison, she was arrested in 1991 for possession of crack cocaine. But this time, Philhower was placed in Drug Court, a yearlong program of weekly meetings and counseling, and became the program's first graduate. Florida Governor Jeb Bush (R) then made her a Points of Light winner and pardoned her. Today, she raises money for AIDS awareness and drug programs. See full story here. For additional background, go here.