Mark Yphantis, 58, has experienced a number of encounters with law enforcement over the years.
Unable to break free from homelessness and alcoholism, Yphantis found himself arrested several times by the same New Hampshire police officer, Justin Maguire.
“Mark was an alcoholic,” Maguire told WMUR-TV. “I arrested him four or five times.”
But Maguire went above and beyond the job of arresting the man and filing the paperwork; he got to know Yphantis and hear his story.
He learned that after the death of Yphantis’ ex-wife, Yphantis turned to drink every day.
The pair also learned that they both loved to golf, giving Maguire an idea.
Maguire told Yhpantis about a year and a half ago that if he could stay sober, he would treat him to a round of golf.
“I kept that in the back of my mind,” Yphantis said of the officer’s promise. “And finally I said, ‘I think I’m going to do this.’”
Yphantis entered a rehab program in January and by the end of April, celebrated 100 days of sobriety.
Maguire visited some local businesses and was able to get Yphantis set up with a brand new set of golf clubs, donated by Golf and Ski Warehouse. Maguire also gave Yphantis a gift certificate for 10 rounds of golf, compliments of the Derryfield Country Club.
“Alcohol is a tough thing,” Maguire said.”I truly don’t know if I thought he’d do it but I’m a man of my word.”
“The last thing I wanted was any attention from this. I just wanted to do something nice for a guy who likes golf because that’s my passion too.”
The two plan to golf together this summer once the weather cooperates.
Yphantis said he is holding down a job and has a place to live. He gave credit to Christian After Care Ministries and Helping Hands for supporting his fight for sobriety.
“It’s a lot better than being the way I was four or five months ago,” Yphantis said. “But that’s old news now. Now, it’s time to look forward so I don’t see what’s behind me, you know?”
Maguire was the recipient of the Presidents’ Community Partner Award from the New Hampshire Institute of Art for his efforts to help the homeless and transient population in his community.
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