Below is an article from the Montgomery Advertiser:
Marine, former State Trooper warns students to stay on track
Marine and former Alabama State Trooper, Matthew Creighton now tells students, football players, churches and businesses how he threw away a successful 18-year-career of service for gambling. He became addicted.
After spending more than 20 years in state and federal prisons for his crimes, Creighton, an Alabama native who lives in Birmingham, travels the country sharing his story of how his life got side-tracked and how he found his way back through Christianity. He lays it all out in his book Don't Get Sidetracked.
Creighton spoke to the senior class at Jefferson Davis High School in Montgomery Tuesday.
"The main focus was talking to them about choices and decisions. What I want them to understand is that you can really destroy your life in a matter of minutes. Don't let your guard down," Creighton said.
Creighton joined the Marine Corps right out of high school when he was 17. He went to Paris Island for boot camp and stayed as a reservist for six years studying at jump school, training with Navy Seals in California and learning to become a paratrooper. He left as a sergeant.
He hoped to pursue his dream of becoming a football player with the University of Alabama until both his parents died in separate incidents. He decided to look for alternative work to care for and be a guardian to his four younger sisters.
He joined the Alabama State Troopers and after 18 years, earned the rank of lieutenant.
It was then, when his trouble started.
"After 18 years of doing really, really good, I decided to check something out. That was all I was doing. I heard some guys bragging about money they had won at a dog track when I was gassing up my patrol car," Creighton said. "I decided to check it out."
The first time at the tracks, Creighton became addicted. He started writing bad checks, visiting casinos and betting more and more money each time until eventually he lost everything.
"It got really ugly. I wound up in federal prison. I lost a career, everything," Creighton said.
His first sentence was 15 months and five years' probation. He went back to federal prison a second time. His third sentencing was 20 years at Staton Correction Facility.
"When I got the 20 year sentence, I started doing some serious praying," Creighton said.
He began attending prison services held by the United Prison Ministries International where he became good friends with evangelist and former prisoner, Andre Wallace.
"They talked about Christ and that's what I needed," Creighton said. "Had I not got Christ in my life, I would still be going in and out of prison."
While at Staton, Creighton was selected to attend the Alabama Therapeutic Education Facility, a place for rehabilitation. There, experts helped him further.
He now is a sought after speaker. His specialty is reaching out to youth.
"I want them to understand that even if you're like me at 52 years old, I've never done drugs, I don't drink, don't smoke and because you don't do those things that we know will cause problems for you, you still have to think big and you can't let yourself by side-tracked," Creighton said.
He lives with his wife of 31 years, has three grown children and six grandchildren. He is scheduled to speak Jan. 27 at 6 p.m. at Bethany Seventh-day Adventist Church in Montgomery for a Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration.
To find out more, visit http://matthewcreighton.com/#home