EAST LANSING, Mich. — Kent Hall had the perfect life. He fought in the Vietnam War and finished his military career as a sergeant.
“Living that Mr. All American life with three beautiful kids, a beautiful wife,” Hall said. I lived it rather well.
But after the war, he begins a new internal battle.
“I didn’t want to live anymore, and how do you explain that,” Hall said. “I could not.”
In the summer of 1980, Hall walked into a bank.
“I knew the banks had a policy of not attacking,” Hall said.
He thought that maybe if he tried to rob it, the police would kill him, and his wife and children might take his life insurance.
“I had a toy gun, I didn’t have a real gun. I’ve never owned a real gun in my life,” Hall said.
He robbed that bank, but he got away.
“They called me the jogging bandit because I never ran away, I just jogged and rushed to catch up, if you will,” Hall said.
Every month for two years, he robs a bank.
“I robbed another bank, robbed another bank, robbed another bank,” Hall said.
Until a cop risks his own life, tackles and arrests him, and his life is changed forever.
“When I was arrested, there was a police officer in Sylvania, Ohio who somehow broke protocol,” Hall said. “He shouldn’t have done that and he saved my life.”
Facing 50 years in prison, Kent entered a plea deal and spent six and a half years thinking.
“I sat in my bunk and wrote letters to different people and so on and started questioning God,” Hall said.
Until the answer came to him by writing on the wall.
“Through the tears, on the wall right next to me were three words,” Hall said. “God loves everyone.”
This is the day his life began to change.
“It was like an overwhelming peace,” Hall said. “It was like I knew it wasn’t me doing all that other stuff.”
Fourteen years ago, Hall was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress related to his time as a sergeant in the Vietnam War.
“Even though you’re so suicidal, there’s still that survival instinct,” Hall said.
Not only did he survive, he thrived.
“In 2014, I came back to Michigan and hosted the first PTSI, Post Traumatic Stress Injury, Awareness Day,” Hall said.
Since then, 46 states have changed the word trouble to hurt, and Hall has advocated for each of them with the nonprofit group Honor For All.
When he’s not advocating with Honor For All, you can find him policing the neighborhood, serving on Williamston City Council and the city’s Parks and Recreation Commission.
“He just has such a passion for the community he lives in,” Williamston Mayor Tammy Gilroy said. this.'”
Leaving a bit of himself in everything he does.
“Everyone he touches, he leaves a lasting mark,” Gilroy said. “It’s just who Kent is.”
Right now, Hall is working on starting a project called Honor For All Park in Williamston.
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