Former boxer overcame addiction, helps those in need

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, October 28, 2015


Joey Mayes grew up in Cleveland, where he became a three-time Cleveland Golden Gloves champion and 1976 Ohio State Fair Bronze Medal winner. But now Mayes focuses his time on helping others and doing what God called him to do.

Mayes’ boxing career included Golden Gloves Championships in 1975, 1976 and 1977. Mayes was the state runner-up in 1975 and 1976, and was the bronze medal winner at the 1976 Ohio State Fair.

Along with being a boxer, Mayes also became a general contractor.

During this time, Mayes also began to drink heavily and use drugs.

“I just wasn’t living right,” Mayes said. “Something had to change.”

One night in 2002, Mayes’s life almost came to an end after an overdose on heroin, but the dark event actually saved his life.

“I had just met up with a guy I knew from the old neighborhood,” Mayes said. “I had been drinking all day and he had some heroin in a needle sitting on the table, and I had never really done heroin before. As soon as I injected it, my eyes rolled back in my head and I hit the floor. I was dead for four and half minutes before the paramedics revived me. I shouldn’t be here today, but by the grace of God, I am.”

Now, Mayes spends his time doing what he feels God has called him to do. Mayes goes around on his on dime and raises money to repair churches, houses, businesses or anything that might need fixing. Not only does Mayes raise he money for the repairs, he also does the work himself free of charge.

“About five years back, God really started speaking to me and telling me that this was what I needed to be doing,” Mayes said. “Now, wherever God calls me, that’s where I go.”

Early this year, Mayes was in Andalusia to help start a faith based addiction reform program with the help of Grace Christian Baptist Church. That’s when Mayes noticed some things around the church that needed to be repaired and updated.

“I noticed some things around the church when I was down in February,” Mayes said. “After I got back, God really put it on my heart to give this church a facelift.”

Mayes has been helping out many different people over the past five years and even put a new roof on a building that was the new home of one of twwhe addiction reform programs he helps with.

“I did a job not too long ago for a place called Teen Challenge,” Mayes said. “They are a network of Christian faith-based groups that help teenagers with problems like substance abuse. They found an old nursing home and it was given to them, but it needed a new roof. I raised the money and did the job for free. It was an $80,000 job and I was able to do it for $13,000.”

Mayes also raised more than $11,000 towards the construction of a new radio tower for the Christian-based online radio group which is part of Harvest Baptist Church.

Mayes said that he depends on the kindness of others to help donate money or materials to get the jobs completed.

“I raise most of the money for the jobs by just going door-to-door asking for donations,” Mayes said. “I’m not just out there asking for donations either, I take the time to share to gospel with them as well.”

Mayes says that while in Andalusia he plans on knocking on every door in town.

Mayes said that he plans on being in Andalusia for the next several months as he works on the church, and he hopes by the time he is finished that the church will be packed out.