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July 29, 2016 06:07 PM

A St. Francis House Success Story

Sioux Falls, SD

If you go into a local business, you usually get a chance to meet the owners face-to-face and get to know them. One Sioux Falls man who runs a shipping company thanks the St. Francis House for allowing him to share his story. 

Step into Safe Ship on the East Side of Sioux Falls, and you will see one man and a bunch of boxes. The business provides shipping for five different carriers, as well as copying and faxing. Owner Matt Ellis says the job gets stressful, especially on the holidays. But for him, it's important to keep things in perspective. 

"If you know my background from the St. Francis House, any day is a treat compared to where I was a few years back," Ellis said. 

Ellis struggled with alcoholism for his entire life, and got a DUI. Instead of going to jail, he went to the St. Francis House.

"The only way this is going to get fixed is if I create a life for myself that I'm scared to lose," Ellis said. 

He stayed at the home for almost a year. Ellis says during that time, he was held accountable for his actions. Executive Director at the St. Francis House Julie Becker says the tough love they give their guests is crucial to the shelter's success.

"Many times in our society, we have that oh it's going to be ok and everybody gets a blue ribbon. Sorry, that's not life. It doesn't work that way, you don't always get a redo," Becker said. 

Ellis also had support. During his time at St. Francis House, he was diagnosed with cancer, and went through radiation treatment. The shelter helped him fight both alcoholism and cancer. 

"It's nice to know people care and that you got someone there for you in emergency situations or just a shoulder to cry on," Ellis said. 

Now Ellis is healthy, sober, and a business owner. While he looks towards the future, he tells others fighting similar demons to believe in yourself, and with a little help, you also can turn your life around.  
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