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RICHMOND, Kentucky – After battling addiction for years, Cory Cooper checked into St. John Recovery Center, where he got the help he needed to get his life back on track.

What you need to know

  • Cory Cooper struggled with an addiction since he was 18, which eventually led him to homelessness
  • He went to St. John Recovery Center to get help turning his life around
  • While going through the St. John Recovery program, Cooper was serving a prison sentence for previous crimes he had committed. He remained sober during the six months he spent in prison and completed the center’s program
  • Cooper currently works full time teaching kids how to skate. He has been jam skating since he was a teenager

Life was challenging for Cooper growing up. His parents battled addiction and he was raised by his grandparents. At 18, he lost both his father and grandfather, and by this time Cooper was battling addiction.

“Instead of talking to a counselor, instead of reaching out, instead of going to a meeting and, you know, just saying, ‘I need help,’ I just continued down this disastrous path,” Cooper said.

That path eventually led him to homelessness in Lexington. With no one to turn to, he called Mike and Pamela Marie St. John, who run St. John Recovery LLC. The behavioral health counseling center has set up rehabilitation homes for people to live in during their program.

Pamela Marie picked Cooper up from the Hope Center and had him talk to Mike via FaceTime.

“I saw the desperation in his eyes, I saw the pain, but I also saw the fighting spirit, and he said, ‘Mike, I’m ready. Please help me,’ and I said, ‘Get in the car, buckle up and come to Richmond,’ and he got in the car and came to Richmond,” Mike said.

On April 16, 2023, Cooper arrived at St. John Recovery Center. He completed the program and was doing well, but his past caught up with him and he ended up spending six months in prison. During that time, he remained sober.

“I volunteered to go to meetings in prison, I went to church in prison and I actually went through a drug rehabilitation program,” Cooper said.

Cooper has since completed the St. John Recovery program while also attending AA meetings at Dry Dock.

“Seeing him go from death to life, seeing him go from idle to drive, seeing him go from numb to beaming, is why we do what we do,” Mike said.

Now Cooper works full-time, shares his road to recovery and teaches children how to ice skate.

Cory Cooper poses with his skates in front of the building of the nonprofit organization Enrich. He got his current job through a job fair hosted by Enrich. (Spectrum News 1/Geraldine Torrellas)

“I like to get out there and teach kids,” Cooper said. “I like to be involved and that’s my main job. You know, that’s my calling for me.”

Jam skating has been his passion since his youth. It is a skating style that combines dance and gymnastics.

“I entered a lot of competitions and eventually got sponsored by a company at age 16 and traveled all up and down the East Coast,” Cooper said.

He has been a contestant on America’s Got Talent twice and has a TikTok dedicated to his hobby.

Now Cooper has the ambition to follow in the footsteps of Pamela Marie and Mike and one day work in rehabilitation himself.