Ring, left, and Athian Bol have overcome so much in their lives to find a new start in the Kent community. MARK KLAAS, Kent Reporter

Ring, left, and Athian Bol have overcome so much in their lives to find a new start in the Kent community. MARK KLAAS, Kent Reporter

Bol bothers survive hard times to find peace, hope in Kent

They fled a civil war half a world away and escaped the ravages of Seattle’s sordid Jungle to find peace and hope.

Sober, resolute and responsible fathers today, Kent’s three Bol brothers have so much to be thankful for.

“It’s been a journey … a lot has happened. I’m just grateful to be alive,” said Athian, 40, the middle brother, while visiting a recent Thursday night community supper at Kent Lutheran Church. “It seems like I lost everything, and they helped me get everything back.”

Appreciative of a new lease on life, the Bol brothers returned to give thanks and speak at the supper, inspiring others to find their way, just as they had.

The brothers left the war-torn Sudan with their mother more than 25 years ago and eventually landed in America. Less than a month after their arrival, their mother died of a lung disease, a great family loss that took the brothers, as they explained, on a bumpy path to self-destruction – a ride fraught by drugs, alcohol and homelessness.

For several months, they battled for self-survival in “The Jungle,” a homeless, lawless encampment under Interstate 5.

“When I was in The Jungle I didn’t know where to go,” said Ring, 42, the oldest brother. “I was struggling with alcohol, and I knew I couldn’t go and stay with anybody because it would be too much for them. So I had to figure out a way. I wanted to get sober. I needed help.”

Help for Ring, Athian and their youngest brother Mager, 38, came from the Seattle Union Gospel Mission’s Men’s Recovery Program, a yearlong effort that changed their lives. The faith-based recovery program helps people leave their addictions behind and gives men and women the foundation for starting a new life by guiding them through counseling, relapse prevention curriculum and Bible studies.

“(The program) is a big part of my life,” Athian said. “It seems like I lost everything and they helped me get everything back.”

Dean Way speaks from experience when asked about the Bol brothers’ comeback story. He was once homeless, a longtime meth addict.

Then, one day, he visited a Union Gospel Mission shelter.

“I came for a meal and it changed my life, really,” he said.

“The beautiful thing is if you came in homeless, it will give you a roof. If you’re hungry, it will give you a meal … and if you’re addicted to drugs and if you follow the rules, you won’t do drugs.”

Today, Way is a mentor, a friend who works for the Union Gospel Mission, living in Kent and working to maintain its properties.

The Bols’ story brings a smile to Way.

“You can see how special each one of them is,” he said.

Ring, a father of three, works today as a warehouse coordinator. Athian, a father of four, also is working, as is Mager.

They have their faith, family and friends to thank for their recovery and a renewed opportunity to lead productive lives.

As Ring best described, “We’re miracles walking.”

Athian added, “It’s been an amazing, difficult life … having hope after losing it all … to getting it back again.”

More in News

Services set for longtime Kentridge High athletic director Anderson

Memorial July 22 at KR gym; mass July 23 in Renton

Puget Sound Fire call report

Number, type of incidents

The Carlton Complex wildfire burned in north-central Washington state in 2014. Photo by Jason Kriess/Wikimedia Commons
King County burn ban under way

Other counties across the state have already enacted similar restrictions.

Between Seattle’s $15 minimum wage and the new no-poach cause agreement, Washington has been leading the nation in advancing fast food workers’ rights. Photo by Fibonacci Blue/Flickr
Washington AG’s deal grants mobility to fast food workers nationwide

Seven fast food chains have agreed to end no-poaching policies that economists say cause wage stagnation.

Dianne Laurine, a Commissioner for the Seattle Commission for People with Disabilities says that she needs plastic straws to drink liquids, and that she easily bites through ones made out of paper. Photo by Melissa Hellmann
Straw ban leaves disabled community feeling high and dry

Although disabled people are exempted from Seattle’s new law, the impacted community says that businesses haven’t gotten the message.

Fire damages Kent West Hill home

Second fire in two days in neighborhood

Plett crowned Miss Cornucopia

Kentwood honors student earns $3,000 scholarship from Kent Lions

Montessori Plus School hosting open house

The open house will be from 5 to 7 p.m. July 17.

Most Read