Reporter: Ellie Mahan
February 1, 2023
Damon West, inspirational speaker and philanthropist, will speak at an event open to the public Sunday, February 5, at Open Range Cowboy Church in Whitney. The Whitney Fellowship Worship Band will perform from 5:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., and West will speak at 6 p.m. Organizers encourage community members to attend.
West, who is a college professor with a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice, is the Wall Street Journal best-selling author of “The Coffee Bean: A simple Lesson to Create Positive Change.”
West wrote his autobiography titled, “The Change Agent: How A Former College QB Sentenced To Life In Prison Transformed His World,” to share his story on how he transformed “the pot of boiling water that is a Texas maximum-security prison into a pot of coffee.”
Growing up, West came from a great family, and he was a talented athlete. However, underneath the surface, he says that he was recovering from being sexually abused by his babysitter at the age of nine, and he began putting chemicals in his body to cope with his feelings.
West became a Division 1 starting quarterback at the University of North Texas, where he suffered a career-ending injury.
After graduation, West worked in the United States Congress, was a national fundraiser on a U.S. Presidential campaign and eventually trained to be a stock-broker for United Bank of Switzerland (UBS). While he was at the UBS, he was introduced to methamphetamine.
West was sentenced to 65 years in a Texas prison. He had a discussion with a convict during his incarceration that led to a spiritual awakening that shaped the way he saw the world.
His website states, “He learned that, like a coffee bean changing with the application of heat and pressure, he was capable of changing the environment around him. Armed with a program of recovery, a renewed faith, and a miraculous second chance at life, Damon emerged from over seven years of prison a changed man. His story of redemption, grit and determination continues to inspire audiences today.”
West’s coffee bean message has reached a national and global audience. His clients include companies such as Walmart, AIG, Chick-fil-A, Southwest Airlines, and sports teams like the Dallas Cowboys, Minnesota Timberwolves, Clemson, Alabama and Georgia. The U.S. Army has incorporated the #BeACoffeeBean mindset into their resilience training.
Other books West has published include: “The Coffee Bean For Kids,” which students have utilized to start their own Coffee Bean clubs in schools,”The Change Agent” (alternate version available for prisons) and “The Locker Room: How Great Teams Heal Hurt, Overcome Adversity and Build Unity,” which is being optioned for film adaptation.
To learn more about Damon West or to purchase his books or merchandise, visit damonwest.org
The inspirational speaker and philanthropist is also scheduled to speak at Whitney High School Monday, February 6, in an event for the students.