Grand marshal of parade talks journey to recovery, celebrating Fourth of July with family and friends

Local News

HUNTSVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — This Saturday, July 4, Scott County resident Randall Byrge will serve as Huntsville’s official grand marshal for its annual Fourth of July parade. The journey to get here, however, has been a long one, but it’s a journey Randall, his family, his friends and his community now celebrate.

When you look through the many photos on Byrge’s Facebook page, you see a man full of life. Always smiling, it’s hard to imagine that at one point his life was in a downward spiral. 

“I was doing Percocet,” Byrge recalled, “and if I couldn’t find my pain pills, I would do meth, acid, shrooms, ecstasy, cocaine. You name it, I did it.”

For more than a decade, Byrge’s life was heading down a rough road despite the fact he came from a good home with loving parents. However, all it took was a breakup with a girlfriend that sent him down a rough path.

“Something that is minor to a lot of folks happened,” Byrge said. “I had a girlfriend cheat on me. That’s really all it was, but the way I was brought up it was really traumatic to me. That broke me.

“I still remember to this day, the guy just slid it over to me and I was having a bad day. He said ‘try this it will make you feel better,’ and that was the truth. … He didn’t tell me it would take everything from me and lead me down 12 years of addiction.” 

Eventually, Randy would find treatment at a facility in Texas and that’s when lightning struck, he says, in a moment he will never forget.

“On Nov. 11, 2012, at 7:17 in Corpus Christi, Texas the preacher was preachin’ out of Ephesians,” Byrge said.

It was these words that struck a chord with him: 

“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)”

Ephesians 2:4-9

Words that literally saved his life. 

“As along as the drugs were in my system I couldn’t think clear,” Byrge said. “I had no emotions. I was blank. I couldn’t feel anything. It took sending me somewhere and getting my mind clear enough that I might be able to hear a message.”

It’s that message the Byrge today shares with all who will listen.

“The faith-based thing worked for me, but I know people find recovery in many different ways,” he said. “I want to encourage that. I want people to know that people still care about you.

“A lot of people think when you make a mistake people turn their back on them. I want people to know that there are still people out here who care about them. There’s still people who love them and there’s still hope.”

Huntsville’s Fourth of July parade is scheduled to step off at 8 p.m. with fireworks to follow at 10 p.m.      

If you would like to hear more of Randy’s story or share your story, he says he wants to hear from you. His email is: randallbyrge21981@gmail. You can call his work phone at 423-286-9925. You can also reach out to him through his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/randall.byrge.7

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