Iron Sharpens Iron men’s group visits Sumter-Lee Regional Detention Center to share testimonies

May 9, 2024

Sumter, SC – Iron Sharpens Iron Men’s Group, a dedicated team of formerly incarcerated individuals, correctional officers, and prison ministry officials, recently visited the Sumter-Lee Regional Detention Center to share their inspiring stories of transformation and hope with the incarcerated men and women at the facility. The group is based out of Fishkill, NY, and its members have collectively served 83 years in New York state prison.

Dr. Vanessa Canty and Major Patricia Ray coordinated the impactful event. Dr. Canty said, “We never know which words might be the catalyst for change in people’s lives.” The group’s powerful message resonated with the audience, as they spoke candidly about their past struggles and their journey toward redemption.

Among the speakers was Michael J. Love, who was once sentenced to life in prison but found a path to transformation during his time behind bars. Love earned his GED, Associate, Bachelors, and Masters degree and began teaching other inmates, eventually teaching for the community college while still incarcerated. “We all make mistakes, but the power of love through Jesus Christ is what saved me, and it is what I use to inspire other men and women behind bars,” shared Love.

Dr. Austin Floyd, another speaker, discussed his experiences growing up in a crime-filled and impoverished community. “Although I was surrounded by an under-resourced community, my mind remained free and education helped me avoid succumbing to my surroundings.” Dr. Floyd spoke about how personal “success” can be redefined through goal-setting and building self-agency and self-esteem.

This was Iron Sharpens Iron’s second visit to the Sumter-Lee Regional Detention Center. The group hopes to maintain a lasting relationship with the facility and continue to provide support and guidance to those in need. The group extended a heartfelt thanks to Sheriff Anthony Dennis and all his staff at the detention center who made the visit possible, and work to keep our communities safe each day.

For more information about these initiatives and their efforts to inspire change contact Michael Love at 845-372-8108 or Dr. Vanessa Smith-Canty at 803-778-6432.