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CBN.com "There must be something wrong with me because everybody I come in contact with, especially every man, just abandons me," Bob recalls thinking.
Bob Alexanders life didnt start out this way. In 1945 a Christian couple eager to start a family adopted him.
"The first five years of my life were so wonderful," Bob remembers. "At Millgrove Bible church, I never missed Sunday school or church. In fact, I had the little buttons for perfect attendance. I used to sing songs like 'The B-I-B-L-E, yes, thats the book for me. I stand alone on the Word of God, the B-I-B-L-E.'"
Yet his world was shattered when his adoptive father walked out on the family and never came back. Life dealt him another blow when his mothers second marriage ended in divorce.
"I was 17, and I would fight guys who were 30. They looked really old to me then. I would fight them because I wanted to vent that rage and that anger that was building in my heart," he says.
After a brief stint in the military during the Vietnam War, Bob came home to a country that rejected him, too. He joined the Kingsmen motorcycle gang and earned a reputation of, as he puts it, "someone you dont want to mess with."
Says Bob, "I would go into bars, and they would say, 'Bad news is here,' and would clear out because there was going to be a fight and I was going to hurt someone."
On the open road, Bob fueled his anger and tried to kill the pain with drugs and alcohol. But the pain wouldnt go away. It just grew worse.
"I remember being sometimes in an alcoholic drunken stupor where I put a 38 in my mouth and I could hear the devil saying, 'Pull the trigger. No one ever wanted you. No one ever loved you, and you should just blow your brains out.'"
Burned out with the gang, Bob left the Kingsmen and dove headfirst into the hippie movement. Now it was all about sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll. If he got a girl pregnant, no problem.
"I took many a girl for abortions during those times," says Bob. "If I got a girl pregnant, I would take her down to the Tudor Lounge, the bar I used to hang out at in Buffalo, and get them abortions."
But there was one girl who refused to go along with his plan to deal with their unborn child.
Remembers Bob, "I went outside to talk to the guys. She was sitting there scared, trembling, and I was talking to them about getting her the abortion like I had the other girls. I came back and she said, 'I cant do it. I cant murder this baby,' and so I said, 'OK. I understand. I will marry you.' I married her."
Over the next three years, Gerry and Bob Alexander had four kids. Looking to provide for his young family, Bob took a job in a very unlikely place: Attica Correction Facility, one of the most notorious prisons in the world. Bob was now working among hardened criminals who were convicted of some of the most heinous crimes imaginable.
"You come home and the wife says, 'How was your day, Honey?' And you say, 'Well, today we had three guys stabbed, four fights, a race riot, and six guys were raped. I had a great day; nobody escaped.'"
After work, Bob would routinely stop at the local bar and drown out the stress of the day with endless rounds of alcohol.
"Finally it got to the point where we lead separate lives," Gerry says. " He was gone so much I just took care of the kids and raised the kids basically on my own."
Bob wanted to advance in his job, so he started working on a college degree. Attica became the perfect proving ground to try out the psychological theories he was learning. One inmate in particular intrigued him. Bob started working with David Berkowitz, the notorious "Son of Sam."
"He scared me spiritually. Physically, I would fight anyone. But David, one look at him, I used to get goose bumps on my arms," Bob explains. "When he would get those letters written in blood or with parts of people, I am going, like, whoa. It was almost like those demons just rose up, and I am, like, whoa. I literally had goose bumps on my arm. I am looking into the face of evil. When he was howling at night, we used to call him 'David Berserkowitz.'"
Bob excelled in his studies and was quickly promoted. Despite his heavy drinking, Bob earned a masters degree in counseling. He had visions of making a difference in the lives of the inmates at Attica. He met his next real challenge counseling Mark David Chapman, the man who shot John Lennon.
"I think, Wow! This is great! So I went up and started counseling Mark David Chapman. He says to me, 'Mr. Alexander, I am a Christian.' I said, 'Huh? My grandma was a Christian. My aunts and uncles are Christians. I know about the Bible in my head, and I know a lot of verses. How could you be a Christian?'"
Bob came home one evening to find that the kids had left the television on.
"I went in to turn the television off," Bob says, "and just then Billy Graham was coming to the stage and there was a number that came on the screen calling for prayer. I call them and I said, 'Maybe you could send me something that I could use with Mark, this Christian, because I am an eclectic counselor. I will use anything.' She took my name and address, and, of course, my wife was like, Oh my! This guy is gone. That alcohol has gotten him for sure."
A couple of weeks later the package from Billy Graham Ministries arrived.
"I just took it, naturally, and threw it out because Bob had told me in the meantime that Mark didnt want to have anything to do with him anymore, so I threw it in the garbage," says Gerry. "I just kept going around in the house, and I was, like, Maybe I had better get it out of there. Maybe I had better save it. Then I would say, No, no, no. Finally, I did. I took it out and opened it up."
Inside she found some literature that would change her life forever.
"At first I just read the Gospel of John," she says. "Everything coupled with what my brother had told me, and I read that and it just came to light. I just knelt down and just asked the Lord to come in. I realized I was a sinner and needed a Savior. Thank God He did because things in my life started to change dramatically after that."
On the outside Bobs life was the picture of success, but on the inside his world was coming apart.
"I am going up the ladder socially. I became the union president, state labor management chair, president of the school board here, Boy Scout leader, hostage negotiating team leader," Bob reveals. "I mean, in the community everybody is looking up to me. This is the guy that was the Kingsman. This is that drunken slob fighting in the bar. Now he is making something of his life. I am climbing that ladder in society, but what I am finding out along the way is that this alcoholism that I have inside of me, this emptiness, isnt going away."
Finally, Gerry took the matter to God.
" I wouldnt talk anymore. I wouldnt nag. I just started praying for him," she says.
After another late night of drinking, Bob sneaked into the house like he always did. However, this night was going to be different.
"This little, still voice came upon me and said, 'Today you are going to go back to the Millgrove Bible Church, the church of your boyhood,' Bob remembers. "The voice said, 'I have had it with you.' I said, Whoa! This must be an aberration! I jumped back in bed and put the pillow over my head. That little voice never went away. It got stronger. The voice said, 'Get up! Get out of bed, get your family, and go over to the Millgrove Bible Church."
The next morning Bob obeyed what that little voice told him to do. At the church he met a woman who remembered him from childhood.
"This little lady, frail lady, was standing there with tears in her eyes. She said, 'Bobby, is that you?' I looked at her and I didnt know who she was. She said, 'Bobby, I was your Sunday school teacher from 1945-1950. I have been on my knees praying for you for 35 years.'"
A few Sundays later during the message, every word the pastor spoke seemed to be directed at Bob.
"'You have done things that you dont think God can forgive you for, things like abortion and babies.' It was me that he was talking to," Bob explains. "He said, 'Jesus died on that cross for it all. He shed His blood for those dead babies, for the alcoholism, and for the abuse.' He said, 'If you want to meet Jesus today, come to this altar.' I sprung out of that pew and ran up there and knelt. I said, 'Jesus, if you will forgive me for all that I have done, I will live the rest of my life for you.' That day I came home and I sat in that chair right over there, and tears were coming off of my chin. My little wife came in and said, 'Whats wrong?' I said, 'There is nothing wrong. Twenty-five years of alcoholism, that insatiable desire, that drive that I would run over you with a bulldozer, it is gone. It is washed in the blood of the Lamb."
That was over 17 years ago. Bob and Gerry have been enjoying a marriage that once never seemed possible.
"I love him, and I know now that the Lord put him my path for a reason," Gerry says. "I loved him from first sight. Each day our love grows stronger and we are best friends."
Today Bob Alexander is known as Judge Alexander in the village of Corfu, New York. He knows that his relationship with Jesus Christ is a vital part of his role in the courtroom.
"I have been made a new creature in Christ, and with that love that I have where there was once hate, that peace that I have where there was once no peace, that joy that I have losing everything but gaining Christ, that peace and joy that I have is something I had never tasted running up the rung going up the rim and ladder to success, stepping on other people to get there. I have found it in Jesus," Bob concludes.
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