Walton County man walks nearly six miles to receive welding certificate

WALTON COUNTY, FLORIDA (WJHG/WECP) - They say you don't know another person's story until you walk a mile in their shoes.

Eight people at the Walton County Jail graduated this month, after passing the American Welding Society certification exam. (WJHG/WECP)

Now thanks to a welding program at the Walton County Jail, one man gets a chance to rewrite his story.

Inmates at the Walton County Jail have the chance to learn a new skill - welding.

"Welding is a well sought after career, it pays very well," said Cory Godwin, Walton County Jail Director.

The welding program at Northwest Florida State College comes to the Walton County Jail so they can take classes.

Godwin says making former inmates employable helps reduce the chances they'll end up back in jail.

"We just think with this program it's worth the investment," said Godwin.

This month, eight people from the jail graduated after passing the American Welding Society certification test - all on the first try.

Steven Hurst walked nearly six miles from the Walton County Courthouse to the Walton County Jail, where he had just been released, but this time he came back as a visitor for his graduation ceremony.

"The other seven guys, we all became really good friends, I thought I was going home the next day, but I ended up going home that night and we were all there. It was a team, if I didn't show up I'd let them down," said Hurst.

Hurst was so excited to get his certificate, he says the walk didn't even feel that long.

"I was so excited I had butterflies in my stomach the whole way and just put one foot in front of the other," Hurst said.

He also has advice for anyone thinking about getting their certification.

"I say go for it, welding might seem boring at the beginning but it's exciting because it's something new, the next step you take and it's real fun," said Hurst.

Hurst says he wants to take the next steps and continue his welding education.

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