Mark Harvin was 18 years old when, high on crystal meth and alcohol, he broke into the garage of Assemblyman Jerry Hill, a San Mateo County supervisor at the time, nearly 11 years ago.
Hill noticed a broken window and banging sounds coming from the detached garage and used his training in the martial arts to subdue Harvin until authorities arrived.
Harvin, who had once been a high-performing student until he discovered alcohol and speed as a teenager, went to jail and bounced in and out of drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs.
The two men never saw each other again.
Until Friday, when Hill and Harvin, now an assistant manager at Project 90, a San Mateo substance abuse program that he credits with saving his life, had an emotional face-to-face meeting.
"Jerry was taken with a lot of emotion by how much this man has made of his life," Hill's spokesman Aurelio Rojas said.
A few weeks ago, Harvin requested to see Hill because part of his rehabilitation requires contacting those whom he hurt during his drug-fueled haze. Harvin has been clean for the last four and a half years.
"It finally clicked when he entered Project 90," Rojas said. The nonprofit was established 40 years ago with funding from the county, and it has grown from a two-bedroom apartment in San Mateo to treating alcoholics and addicts with hundreds of beds across the Bay Area.
Hill, who has been a longtime supporter of Project 90, agreed to the meeting, in part, because Harvin's story demonstrates the nonprofit's success, especially in a time of small financial means.
Providing treatment and rehabilitation through programs such as Project 90, however, is often less expensive than simply incarcerating addicts and alcoholics.
"These are periods in which nonprofits like Project 90 have had trouble keeping their doors open," Rojas said.
The nonprofit's executive director, James Stansberry, also attended the reunion, which took place at Project 90's office in San Mateo Friday morning.
-Bay City News