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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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Where God called, he followed
He was born in Tampa and raised in Brandon and now lives in Wesley Chapel. He's 55, a husband to Elaine, with grown children Lacey Anne and Erik, and for the past five years has been the senior pastor at Myrtle Lake Baptist Church at a corner of State Road 54 and Collier Parkway. Here's Elbert Nasworthy:
By MICHAEL KRUSE, Times Staff Writer
Published August 21, 2007
Elbert Nasworthy has been the senior pastor at Myrtle Lake Baptist Church at a corner of State Road 54 and Collier Parkway for the past five years.
[Mike Pease | Times]
God brought me up here. It was a God thing.
I grew up in what would be considered Tampa Heights. We moved to Brandon when I was going into fourth grade, and I can remember riding my bicycle all over the neighborhood. I was probably 8, 9 years old, and it was no big deal. I have a 4-year-old grandson, and I don't want him riding around like that.
My parents would give me anything I needed. Not what I wanted. What I needed.
I have two grandkids. Anthony's 4 and Isabella is 11/2, and I now understand what my father used to tell me: It's more fun being a grandparent than it is being a parent. When things start to get a little rough, you can always say, okay, see you later, have a nice night.
I was so protective of my daughter. I used to worry about her all the time. With my daughter, when she was little, I hovered around her. Now, with Isabella, you understand they're going to walk around. They need to run.
My father was a salesman. He traveled. He traveled Monday through Thursday and then worked in the office on Friday and a half day on Saturday. He sold electrical supplies and had the lower west coast of Florida.
Pasco is just like Hillsborough now. Look at what's going on. Three malls? That's a lot of growth. I don't know that Hillsborough ever had that much growth at one time.
This church is very indicative of what the demographics are for this area. We have a Spanish-speaking service on Friday night.
There are a lot of families who are hurting. They're struggling financially. It's true for the older people who are around. It's true for the younger families. We're taking in backpacks and school supplies.
When I was 18, and I was about to graduate from high school, it was a Sunday afternoon after church, and I felt this ... thing. But I went to the University of Tampa and I got a degree in economics and business administration and I went into the business world. I spent 25 years working for my father and my grandfather.
I eventually became a deacon at my church, and a Sunday school teacher, and I was on all these committees.
I called up the pastor who I talked to when I was 18.
I started at West Hillsborough as senior pastor in February 1998.
You don't get a lot of chances to kind of recreate yourself. I was going to recreate myself.
It could be adultery. It could be Internet pornography. It could be gambling. It might be drugs. It could be alcohol. It could be going into debt.
"It" is anything.
People have struggled since the beginning of time. I don't know if it's more prevalent today or if it's just that we hear more about it. But people are trying to figure out what to do and where to go. We want to know how it's going to be okay and we want to know when it's going to be okay.
Sometimes it takes time.
You have to be consistent and you have to be concise.
You have to forgive.
It's not all about you. Society says it's all about you. It's not.
Elaine is my greatest counsel. She's my wife, she's the mother of my kids, she is wise. We met when we were in the seventh grade. She lived in Mango, and I lived in South Brandon, and we both went to Horace Mann Junior High in Brandon.
I knew the night I met her.
My mom and dad wanted me to wait. Her mom and dad wanted her to wait. We didn't want to wait. We got married in 1971. We were 19.
The secret is that there is no secret.
Today is the day. I'm going to live today.
As told to Michael Kruse, Times staff writer
About this feature
Everybody has a story, and that's what this feature is about - just letting them tell it. Know somebody who'd be good? E-mail Michael Kruse at email@example.com or call 813 909-4617.