Jimmy Wayne Shares Life Lessons With California Audience
Jimmy Wayne is in a good place these days. On tour with Brad Paisley and Dierks Bentley, he's having the time of his life playing -- both onstage and off -- like he did this past weekend at the spectacular Konocti Harbor Resort in Northern California.
"We spent all day on the lake...I'm burned! I DROVE a boat! It's been a great day! California is amazing! There's grapevines in the background!" he enthused to fans via MySpace and Twitter as he traveled through Wine Country.
But life hasn't always been this amazing for Jimmy. At 15, he was living on the streets, the product of a troubled and broken home. When he was picked up off the streets and held in a detention center, Jimmy thought, at his tender young age, that life had come to an end. But it turned out to be the fork in the road that would lead him to where he is today -- living life beyond his wildest dreams, because someone chose to believe in him.
"I was taken in by a really, really good family that gave me a home, gave me an opportunity, and I went back to school, went on to college, and graduated with a criminal justice degree," Jimmy revealed to his audience midway through singing 'Where You're Going,' a song on his current album that promises, it's not where you've been, it's where you're headed.
"While I was at this college, the professor said, 'Monday morning, I want everyone to wear a collared shirt, we're gonna go visit the detention center.' Well, I didn't need to go, because I'd already been ... and I knew what it was like." he said, his voice going soft. "But I showed up, and all the other students were standing in front of me, and I was in the back of the class. This officer walked out, and I recognized him. He said to us, 'Good morning... this is the Dallas Detention Center -- and in here, we have all kinds of trash.'"
And as a balmy California breeze wafted off the lake and over his audience suddenly gone quiet, Jimmy said, his voice lifting and swelling with emotion, "Well, I raised my hand, and I said, 'Sir... you may not remember me, but my door used to be the last one on the right. You were the officer that checked me in that night on my 15th birthday ... and I'll never forget the things you said to me. I just want to let you know that some of these kids in here have been abandoned by their own family, and some have made mistakes, but one thing they're not ... they're not trash."
Although times are good for him now, Jimmy remains actively involved with raising money to help people sponsor children in foster homes in their area. "I'm so passionate about this, because I made a promise a long time ago that I would never forget where I came from," he recently told Country Weekly. "And I definitely know where these kids are coming from -- I know their stories."
Jimmy's third album, 'Sara Smile,' is due in stores on Nov. 24.