A New Leaf, Part 2

By: Stacy McCloud
By: Stacy McCloud

Knoxville (WVLT) - After a life that appeared to be going in the wrong direction, Tommy McGouey now works to keep others from making the same mistakes.

As we told you in Part 1, his plan of cop-assisted suicide failed and amid a hail of bullets, he survived and turned his life around.

Stacy McCloud tells you why his life of good could be coming to an end, long before his mission is completed.

By the big smile on his face it's hard to believe one day not too long ago 54-year-old Tommy McGouey wanted his life to end.

"I had gone from drug abuse to alcohol abuse, relationship problems and trying to fill that void with worldly things." His emptiness led to an attempt at a police assisted suicide. "I prayed for forgiveness and it be over fast"

Twenty-seven bullets quickly came toward him, but he survived, grazed only once.

Little did he know at the moment, but years later he would be thanking god that a portion of that prayer went unanswered. Because in that instant, the life of Thomas McGouey was far from over, it had only just begun.

"I did get hit once, but I look at it like Paul's thorn, just to remind you, my grace is sufficient for thee and so I carry that scar as a reminder of where I was and where God has led me since that night."

He went into jail one man, 18 months later, came out another.

For the past three and a half years he's been working with men on the road to recovery at Peace At Last Ministries. Finally he feels he's fulfilling God's will.

But just as things seem right, he's found himself at the mercy of the lord once again.

This time with a much different prayer.

"The last two or three months I started having pain I wasn't accustomed to and had it checked out."

After weeks of testing, doctors found the problem.

"To go from planning a wedding to thinking about funerals that is totally not what you have planned," says Connie Dodgen, Tommy's Fiancé.

McGouey is dying of liver cancer. His liver, too damaged for surgery.

"Because of his underlying sclerosis it's not a good option for him because he is likely to develop liver failure if any part of his liver is removed," says Dr. Raj Narayani.

Even if he could get on a list, he isn't the best candidate for a liver transplant.

And he says he couldn't afford it anyway.

"There is no insurance here because we are very, very tiny profit," says Tommy.

Since in his new life he chose spiritual pleasures over wordly riches, medical insurance isn't something possible at his new job.

"This isn't a ministry of money, God always seems to find a way of providing for us," he says.

Without that costly treatment and possibly even with, doctors believe he's entering his final moments of life.

McGouey feels he has a much greater healer.

"My physician is otherwise and he isn't through with me yet."

Despite his faith, McGouey entered hospice. He feels if this really is his final walk, the program will give him freedom to fully enjoy the life he has left.

After all important memories are still to be made, including his wedding day.

"Cramming a lot of time into 3 to 6 months"

March 31st is the big day. Tommy and Connie won't legally be able to become husband and wife because McGouey says he wouldn't be able to rest peacefully knowing his bride would be responsible for the mounting medical bills he could leave behind.

So they plan to declare their love and enjoy what time they have left.

"Looking forward to spring, the next season," says Connie.

"Spring eternal," Tommy adds.

Tommy also plans to keep working.

"Even on a volunteer basis working 20 hours I can have an impact on the ministry and these guys," he says.

And while death is certainly no longer what he wants, if it's God's will, then McGouey's final wish is that the world remember not the headlines that got him where he is, but the testimony that's since been written.

"I don't fear for Him I know he will go to Heaven, a better place," says Connie.

"Amen," says Tommy.

Because of his weak immune system and because Tommy chose hospice, "Peace At Last" isn't an appropriate place for him to live anymore.

He and his bride to be now have a new home, but with it comes a much needed wish list.

Tommy and Connie's new home is empty, they NEED these items to help make their house a home.

Dining Room Set
End Table & Coffee table
prefer black Futon, end tables, coffee table
Area Rug Green Design
Patio Furniture
Grill
Tommy also needs new dentures.


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