FORT SILL, Okla. (TNN) - A motivational speaker and best-selling author will be speaking to soldiers on Fort Sill this week. Damon West is a college professor, who will be sharing his story of resiliency through the obstacles he’s faced in life, including his time in prison.
In the early 2000s, Damon West was sentenced to 65 years in a Texas prison for multiple drug related crimes. He was released just seven years later on what he calls lifetime parole.
While waiting to be transferred to prison, a fellow inmate who told him to imagine prison as a pot of boiling water and anything that goes inside will be changed by heat and pressure.
“The carrot, it goes into prison and in the water hard but prison and the water turns the carrot soft, beats it down, makes it soft, sad, and weak. You see people like this in life, beats them down and they become the carrot. He said the egg, the egg turns hard, mad, and mean. The heart, the soft liquid, the core of the egg becomes hard and he said if your heart becomes hard you’re incapable of receiving love and if you’re incapable of giving or receiving love you become institutionalized and you will not come back as someone your parents recognized because your eggshell will have tattoos all over it," West said.
West said that’s when he learned about the coffee bean and how it changes the water. He said the power is inside of the coffee bean, just like the power is inside of you.
“And that’s the message I really want to drive home to everybody. It’s not like the Army endorses any of the things I’m saying, they brought me in here to train on my mindset and how I got through a difficult situation, and how I live my life every day. But that coffee bean message I think any group team or organization can use," West said.
West said he’s spoken with a number of college football teams, but this is his first time speaking on a military base.
“Lt. Col. Jason Carter he read my book, The Coffee Bean and when he read that got in touch with me on social media and said hey man I loved your book, I loved your message. I replied back to him and said hey that’s great, have you read my autobiography The Changes Agent? They’re actually making it a movie. I think that the mindset training stuff and the change would be excellent in the military," West said.
2-6 Air Defense Artillery Battalion Commander Lt. Col. Bradley Hayes believes West’s message will stick with soldiers forever.
“The goal for the day I really want to make sure we empower those leaders. Sort of like the coffee bean going into the hot water to make sure that education they received today can be spread to the troops and they’re future soldiers as they lead them in combat or lead them in their first unit assignment," Hayes said.