Danielle Perkins’ story is a one of redemption. Her story is also one of transformation.
Imagine for a moment you are walking down a path and at the end of the path you are met with a fork in the road. You stand there a moment to figure out which path to choose. One side looks perilous and the other looks easy. Which path do you choose? What if at the end of the perilous path there was a happy ending? Would that help you choose?
Danielle Perkins, COO of Murray Plastics, faced a fork in her path early in life. At the age of 15 she became pregnant with twins. Forced to make a decision about caring for her twins full time or trying to maintain schoolwork and motherhood, she made the difficult decision to end her high school career early. Instead of finishing her senior year of high school, Danielle dropped out to take care of her children.
For the next four years, Danielle found herself in and out of different houses and different jobs, all while raising her twin boys, when she met another fork in her path. The new crossroad presented a path that appeared to be easy and a way toward stability. She could not have known that the easy path she thought she was taking would be the most perilous one in the end. A successful man asked her to marry him. He moved her and her children into a nice, big house in a great school district. She was living the American Dream. She made it from a 15 year old child with children of her own into a stable life.
However, things are not always what they appear. The successful man turned abusive. Danielle became depressed and suicidal. She turned to hard drugs to ease the daily pain. Suddenly, the dream life she envisioned became a nightmare. At one point, when life was low for Danielle, DFACS took her children to live with her mom. Always doing what she could to take care of her children, Danielle began to take classes and get help in order to get her children back, but her husband refused. Facing yet another difficult decision, Danielle moved away and found an apartment close to her children. She did try to reconcile with her husband, but as they say, if you do not learn from the past, you are destined to repeat it. The cycle of abuse, drugs, depression took hold again. Unfortunately, this time the hold on Danielle was so strong she hit rock bottom and ended up in jail.
Danielle was at the lowest of lows. Drugs, jail, no steady income was taking its toll. She decided that for things to change, she was going to have to put this life behind her. She came to another fork in the road. Stay the course, or choose the path to redemption. In 2009, Danielle entered rehab.
Rehab changed the way Danielle thought about life. Dreams of a fancy house or material wealth no longer held interest for her. Instead, she focused on her relationship with God and with her family. These things became motivation for her to improve her life. When Danielle completed her rehab program, she started working at Murray Plastics as a machine operator. She would do any job in order to stay employed. She no longer wanted to return to the life she once lived. She would do whatever it took to be successful.
While working as a machine operator at Murray Plastics, Bill Hall, President of the company, noticed Danielle’s commitment to her work – both on the job and in her personal life. Bill saw her transformation first hand and kept promoting her. She built a reputation for being reliable and over the years worked her way up to Chief Operating Officer of the company. Danielle turned her life around and was on a stable, though not easy, path that she had worked so hard to get on.
Through connections with WomenSource, Danielle has shared pieces of her story while participating as a Model at the Power of the Purse Fundraiser and as the featured speaker at a Power Lunch program. Danielle is a compelling speaker who tells her story as often as she can so that she can show how it is possible to move from very low seasons in life into healthier and happier circumstances. Danielle also advocates for women who are at low points to help prevent them from repeating the cycle. For example, Murray Plastics employs women who have served time in jail and are seeking better life circumstances.
Danielle knows the law does not favor women who are convicted felons, so she brings to light issues that need to be addressed in order to prevent repeat offenders. For instance did you know it is illegal for two felons to live under the same roof? After completing rehab, women who are looking for better housing arrangements are not allowed to live with one another as convicted felons, even though the support they could offer each other would be invaluable. Typically, instead of moving into a supportive environment, women are forced to go back to family or friends where their journey toward destructive behavior began. Danielle would like to see the laws changed to help bring women together instead of separate them when it is appropriate to do so.
Danielle’s life is proof that the paths we choose do not have to define us. Today, Danielle is happily married and she has made amends with her two sons, who are both in the medical field and doing really well. She says with confidence that she is on the right path and will continue to help those around her who need to find their right path as well.