Former felon speaks to students about life choices

"Mad Dog" speaks at Bay High School
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)

BAY, AR (KAIT) - - Bay High School welcomed a former felon to teach students about life choices.

Dale "Mad Dog" Messmer spoke to high school students Friday morning in hopes to keeping them from making similar mistakes.

Messmer spent 10 years and 8 months in federal prison for drug smuggling charges.

"I went from being a 37-year-old multi-millionaire to walking out of prison at the age of 50 with a check for $25 and a set of Goodwill clothes to start my life over again," Messmer said.

The former Marine, bounty hunter and law enforcement officer took a job in Columbia, and it was actions associated with that job that landed him in prison for having 260 kilos of cocaine on his plane.

When he got out of prison, law enforcement encouraged him to speak to students about his history and what one mistake can do.

"You can make one choice that is going to cost you the rest of your life, and think about the friends you make because your friends can get you locked up and killed just as quickly as anything you choose to do yourself," Messmer said.

For the last 21 years Messmer has spoken to kids across the country with the Straight Talk Outreach Program.

Messmer said his message is not any different from parents or teachers.

"The only difference is that I've actually been there and I did it, and it cost me everything on this planet I ever cared about, especially my freedom and my family," Messmer said.

Bay teachers heard him speak at an FCCLA conference last year and said they knew they wanted to bring Messmer to Bay.

While his talk is unlike any other, it grabs student's attention.

"This is how it is, take it or leave it," Messmer said. "If you don't want to believe me go ahead and do whatever you want to do, and when you send me that letter from prison I'll be glad to write to you."

At 71-years-old, Messmer is not paid to speak. He is a member of the Screen Actors Guild and makes a living as a stunt double coordinator.

Messmer said it is all about helping that one child not go down the wrong path.

Bay is now one of the more than 1,800 schools Messmer has visited.

Copyright 2016 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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