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Rebuilding a life; building a business

Dees recovers from a life of drugs to owning a contracting business

By Lee Wardlaw lee@claytodayonline.com
Posted 2/16/23

MIDDLEBURG – Derek Dees has lived a difficult life from the day he was born.

His mother was 14 when he was born. He was 6 when she became addicted to drugs.

“Growing up, you deal with …

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Rebuilding a life; building a business

Dees recovers from a life of drugs to owning a contracting business


Posted

MIDDLEBURG – Derek Dees has lived a difficult life from the day he was born.

His mother was 14 when he was born. He was 6 when she became addicted to drugs.

“Growing up, you deal with anxiety and depression, not understanding why other kids were treated differently than you. It’s only human reaction for parents to treat their own children like that,” he said.

As a child, Derek drove down the street to a stop sign about a mile down the road with drugs wrapped in tin foil to help his mother make ends meet.

Derek found a release by playing quarterback at Orange Park, West Nassau and Columbia highs.

“Football was what kind of kept me together all throughout high school,” Dees said.

The constant variable of moving from town to town and the popularity of playing the position took his mind down a rabbit hole from a dark childhood past.

“During those parties, I would sit there and go back over all those things that I would do for my mom, selling drugs for her. And my dad was an alcoholic, so the only memories I have of him were from when I was 8. We would stay at his buddy’s house, and they would pass out by the campfire from drinking,” Dees said.

He started snorting Oxycodone and popping Percosets after leaving his college football team to care for his troubled mother during his freshman season.

Rock bottom was still to come.

He lost a $ 70,000-a-year job when he failed a drug test. His mother died of an overdose. His uncle and cousin also died. He began injecting drugs with needles. His wife’s car and his motorcycle were repossessed. And he was arrested for stealing rings from a neighbor. Then his wife left.

After being locked up for one month, his estranged called.

“She said, ‘I found a place for you to go that will help get you straightened out.’ That was after she left me and everything,” Dees said.

He headed to a 10-month program in Okeechobee called Faith Farm. It wound up changing his life.

What he called a “coming to Jesus moment” came in the second month. Part of Faith Farm’s rehabilitation regimen required participants to nurse sick baby dairy calves back to health, which is then sold to finance the program.

The calves are raised on an empty 40-acre field with only one shade tree. That’s when Dees embraced Christ.

That’s when the vision of being six-year-old and finding his mother passed out on the bathroom floor. Suddenly life was more important than finding his next fix.

He began working for his father-in-law six years after graduating from the program. He knew he needed to do more, so Dees kickstarted his small business, Dees Contracting.

“My reason for starting a business 10 or 12 years ago would have been, ‘How can I make more money so I can do more drugs?’ Now it’s, ‘how can I go back and help people that need help? How can I help my wife and children? How can I make sure my son doesn’t go down the same path that I did?’” he said.

Through all of his struggles, Dees ultimately credits the powerful and forgiving love of his wife, Carrie, who returned after he found sobriety.

“My wife is such a big part of this story. She stuck by my side from Day 1. She helped me find a place that completely changed my life,” Dees said. 

Dees founded a family-owned and operated service specializing in the construction and installation of specialty woodwork. He also creates beautiful home works like accent walls, decks, stairs, custom built-ins, shelves, pantries, barn doors and much more nearly two years ago.

For more, visit DeesContracting.com.