‘Drugs won’t get you there’
Former SP student answers call to serve others
In my search for inspirational stories, I received a call from Shirley Coffee, who lives in the Enid area, about her son, Dr. Sir Allen Pegues. It is a story that all young people need to hear.
He was a South Panola High School football player who only lived to play ball until he was 16 years old. What happened to him then changed his life forever, and he never played football again. Here is Dr. Sir Allen’s story as told to me:
“When I was seven years old my parents divorced and I went to live with my Aunt Linda Mitchell and Uncle Harvey Mitchell. There were good church-going people, and they gave me a good home.
When I was 11, I wanted to move downtown with my mother’s sister, where I made friends and met girls. Coming from the country I was fascinated with all the activities that town offered.
Most of them were good, but some of them were not so good for an 11 year old boy. I was fascinated with the clothes, jewelry, and shoes that I saw some guys wearing.
At the age of 11 I was already using marijuana, alcohol, and cigarettes. It did not take me long to learn how those guys got the money for clothes, jewelry, and shoes that I so envied. Shortly afterwards I began selling crack cocaine.
Until I was 16 I actually made enough money to afford fancy clothes, jewelry, and shoes. Shoes were my passion, and I had at least six pairs of Nike Air Max. Even though I sold crack, I never used it. It was all about the money for me.
This was also the time that I discovered football. While in the 7th grade the principal would not let me play because of behavioral problems, although I had all A’s and B’s. While in 8th and 9th grades, I played safety. Going into the 10th grade I made the team to play cornerback.
At the end of my sophomore year, a friend and I were leaving a party in the Sardis area. It was raining heavily and an oncoming car ran us off the road and we hit a tree.
I was thrown out of the vehicle. I could not move from the neck down. I began screaming in excruciating pain. That is when I heard another voice also screaming in pain.
I could only move my eyeballs and I looked over into my friend’s eyes. That is the moment first responders told my mother that I had died. Authorities determined that drugs and alcohol were not involved in the wreck.
The first person on the scene was (the late) Danny Ray Cole, my former coach.
I was airlifted to The Med and the EMTs told my mother that they lost me three or four times while en route. They also told my mother that I would be permanently paralyzed from the neck down.
They kept me in a medically induced coma for a month. I was in the hospital for four months.
When I finally came home I was on complete bed rest for four months. I slowly gained some mobility, but I did not want to go back to school. I was laden with anger because I could not play football.
I saw absolutely no reason to go back to school. That was the first year that South Panola won the National Championship. I was still considered part of the team and they offered me a championship ring. I refused it because I felt I had done nothing to deserve it.
From age 16 to 19 I was in so much pain that I began smoking marijuana and drinking heavily.
I was mad at God. I constantly asked, why me? What have I done to deserve this? I stayed depressed all the time. My maternal grandfather, L.C. Smith, was always reading scripture and praying for me.
I eventually went back to school and graduated from South Panola High School in 2001. In 2003 I was at home lying on my bed, watching television, when God spoke to me audibly as I am talking to the writer of this article.
God told me he would relieve my pain if I would follow Him, seek God not drugs, and be a help to others.
Shortly after this epiphany I entered Ole Miss still wheelchair-bound when I received my bachelor’s degree. Then it was on to Delta State University where I received my master’s in school in community counseling.
In December, 2020, I received my doctorate degree from Mercer University, and then opened a private practice, Creating A Difference, LLC. I have three offices in the Atlanta area and all are doing well.
My advice to young people today is that personal choices are so important. I did not have to sell drugs at 11 years old. It was a bad choice.
Never give up on your dreams, but don’t expect drugs to get you there.”