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Hero Next Door: Beverly McClain

7:23 PM, May 6, 2013   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Beverly McClain looks at the Families for Slain Children building, and thinks about how she arrived here. 

"I used to go and stand across the street and when the Lord showed me the building, I started envisioning what we could do with it," McClain said. 

The house on 3108 North Myrtle Avenue looks a lot different than it did when McClain first saw it in 2006.

"Chris I was scared I would fall through the steps. I could see the sky it was that bad," McClain said. 

The once condemned home is now a place used to keep her son's memory alive, a place that she uses to bless others. 

On June 23, 2005, a homicide detective arrived at her home and delivered the news no parent wants to hear. 

The body of her son Andre Johnson, who had been missing for a week, had been found in the Ribault River. 

"I was devastated," McClain said. "Everyday he'd call me. 'Mom what you're doing? What you cooked? And I was looking for that everyday.'"

McClain said the vision for Families of Slain Children started while she was lying on the floor grieving her son's death. 

She said she heard God's voice. He told her it's not about you. You need to get up, get out and help other victims.    

"I kept saying 'Lord I don't have this. I don't know how to do that. I don't have a high school diploma.' He said 'all I want is your availability,'" McClain said. 

With help from local churches and volunteers, 3108 North Myrtle Avenue became a place where other victims of homicide can come to get help. 

"These mothers, my heart goes out to them. I try to tell them what helped me. So it can help you. Sometimes it works and sometimes it don't," McClain said. 

Beverly McClain is our "Hero Next Door".         

"I'm just grateful that God chose me. I didn't understand why my son got killed but he told me it wasn't about that. He wanted me to bring people together. So we can support each other," McClain said. 

Since 2006, Ms. McClain said that the Families of Slain Children has helped more than 3,000 people.   

First Coast News

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