It all changed the day of his open heart surgery. On December 22, 2015, doctors replaced his femoral artery and changed the course of Winslow’s life forever. For two days afterward, Winslow still swears that he could see heaven. After the surgery he called his wife Linda and, in tears, explained his radically changed life outlook. From that day on, he would make a change. He would devote himself to god, and spend his time helping other people. He hasn’t had a drink since.
Winslow has been a member of the First United Methodist Church since he moved to South Bend in 1964, and was a close friend to one of our founders. It was the same year he met his wife, Linda, at a bowling banquet.
Winslow has quit drinking before. Like many people, his journey has not been a straight line. For most of his life, he worked in sales, travelling a lot and doing a lot of entertaining. He says he thought of his drinking at that time as social drinking. Part of work. Never hard liquor, but he would often have a quart of beer on the way to work, or stop for a six-pack and drink it in the parking lot. After he completed an Emmaus Walk he quit for a year and a half before starting up again. Looking back with full clarity, he told me, “I was an alcoholic. I am an alcoholic.”
After spending a year in physical therapy recovering from his heart surgery and living an active, sober lifestyle, Winslow is a boon to those around him. By providence, he even met one of our residents while waiting for someone else on the stoop of the church, and formed a fast friendship that became a mentoring opportunity for both of them.
He is seventy-six years old and he will tell you he plans to live for another twenty (when I talked to him he was on his way to a kickboxing class). His life is a testament that it is never too late.
Winslow and his wife Linda just celebrated their 48th anniversary this year.