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Man’s life leads him back to religion

Nick Nash children’s playhouse he his students built JobLink East Chicago. | Phoprovided

Nick Nash and a children’s playhouse he and his students built at JobLink in East Chicago. | Photo provided

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Updated: August 22, 2013 1:19PM



“When I was a little boy

(when I was just a boy)

And the devil would call my name

(when I was just a boy)

I’d say, ‘Now who do,

Who do you think you’re fooling?’

(when I was just a boy)

I’m a consecrated boy

(when I was just a boy)

I’m singer in a Sunday choir...”

— Paul Simon

Nick Nash enjoyed working on the first automobile he purchased, but couldn’t drive it on the street. He was 12 years old. It was a Nash Rambler.

Nash, 57, is a single born-again Christian who lives in Griffith. He also is a semi-retired mobile equipment mechanic who worked for ArcelorMital. Today, he teaches or instructs several classes at JobLink in East Chicago.

***

“We moved to the Black Oak neighborhood of Gary when I was about 2 months old,” Nash began. “My dad built a house there. I went to Grissom (Elementary School).”

Then what?

“We moved to a mini-farm outside of Crown Point. I went to Hanover Central (High School). Then, my parents moved to Griffith; I attended Griffith High School half a day my senior year.”

Memories of the Crown Point mini-farm?

“I have fond memories of my dad taking me hunting. We had horses. My parents, Richard and Marie Nash, were gospel singers originally from Tennessee. I grew up in a Christian home.”

Anything else?

“When I was 12, my dad built my brother and I a fort. Actually, he built the outside of it. He taught us about carpentry by letting us finish the inside. I’ve had an interest in building things ever since.”

You also bought that Nash Rambler when you were 12.

“Yes, I paid $50 for it. I worked on it and spray painted it, too.”

Life after high school?

“I married my high school sweetheart. We had three children. By the time I was 30, I was divorced.”

One of your first jobs?

“For the summer, I worked on the Erie-Lackawana Railroad that used to run through Griffith. I loved that job, but they went out of business. I started at Inland (Steel Co.) in 1975.”

What department?

“I hired into the labor gang of No. 2 Coke Plant and eventually got into the mechanical gang there. I was at the coke plant about a year-and-a-half before transferring to the Mobile Equipment Shop. The guys at the coke plant were great, but the conditions were miserable.

“It was an eye-opener for a young guy from Crown Point coming to the coke plant. I remember Jan. 24, 1975, like it was yesterday. It was a dark, gloomy day with all that coke dust in the air. I felt like I was walking into a prison or something — ‘Shawshank Redemption.’ When I went over to Mobile Equipment it was like Disney World.”

College?

“I had taken classes at South Suburban College and Purdue Calumet. A good friend from the mill encouraged me to try Indiana University Northwest. I studied psychology, sociology and communications. I purposely chose those courses to help me understand why I was going through my second divorce. As an adult, I broke away from my Christian roots.”

Did you earn a degree from IUN?

“Yes, in 2009, four years after I retired from the mill.”

Among other things, you’re a woodworking instructor at JobLink, but you also have been a student here since its inception.

“JobLink is a great thing for steel workers. I’ve earned a master carpenter’s certificate in ‘96, received my pilot’s license through JobLink, I’ve studied commercial and instrument training here and also have a certificate in Real Estate thanks to JobLink.”

Nick, Joblink was very instrumental as far as my writing career. Do you want to talk about becoming a born-again Christian?

“I had a salvation experience. You see, my friend had a tree-cutting and landscaping business, and after retiring, I was working for him.”

Yeah?

“We were way up in a man-lift on a Memorial Day weekend. The wind was gusting about 35 mph. The blocking under the outriggers shifted. It became a life-and-death situation.”

And?

“I was living like a heathen at that time, but I asked the Lord to come into my heart at that moment. We made it down, obviously. I had two girlfriends at the time. One of them broke up with me immediately, the other one remained friends with me for a few more years, on a platonic basis only. I didn’t go to church right away, but started listening to Christian radio stations and stuff like that.”

You attend church today.

“Yes, it’s a nondenominational church in Highland. We travel all over the country as missionaries. We bring deliverance.”

Bring deliverance?

“Deliverance is like casting out evil spirits. A lot of people get a little freaked out when you say that. Some folks don’t believe that Christians can have evil spirits. Humans are like tripod creatures that have a body, soul and a spirit. Your soul consists of a mind, will and emotion. That’s where evil spirits reside in our bodies.”

Does your pastor attempt to heal people?

“Yes, I’ve actually witnessed physical healings and the casting out of evil spirits.”

Does he speak in tongues?

“Yes, he does. It’s an unknown tongue that can be found in the Bible. Some believe in it, some don’t. We sometimes refer to our church as Bapticostal.”

Do some members handle snakes?

“Oh, no. But that’s good that you ask. Win Worley was the founder of our church when it was located in the Hegewisch neighborhood of Chicago. He’s the author of about 12 books.”

You’ve seen the light.

“I’m not perfect, obviously, but I’m living the Christian life. I’m consecrated.”

***

As a 12 year-old boy, he helped finish a fort. Nearly 45 years later, he teaches steel workers how to make children’s playhouses and more.

He was the kid from Black Oak who started out in a house built by his father. In conjunction with Habitat for Humanity, he’s the man who helped build a steel-framed house located on Guthrie Street in East Chicago.

And through salvation and deliverance, he’s a Nash restored.



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