Man and woman use unique bond from 20-year-old crime to encourage, inspire kids in their community

Posted at 7:02 PM, Jun 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-10 20:02:57-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Melony Pugh-Weber and Michael Shaw have been connected by a 20-year-old crime. Now they work together to show kids you’re never too lost to find someone who cares.

Call it divine intervention or a crazy coincidence, but Michael and Melony can only say their paths are forever linked.

“If I’m really in a hardship, I’ll call her before anybody,” Shaw said.

These days Melony helps Michael coordinate a family fun day over in the Edgehill neighborhood of Nashville. They’ve hosted an event every year since their chance encounters two years ago.

Melony is the founder of Touchstone Youth Resource Services where she works with students through the CiViL initiative. Online they’re described as a “social-emotional education initiative that combines CiViL Groups, CiViL Service, and CiViL Liberties to provide Character, Values, and Leadership for high school students.”

One day Melony drove to McDonald’s and placed a rather large order. Alarmed by all the food, the man at the drive-thru window asked who it was for. Melony said she was on her way to Overton High School. The man said he went to Overton, so Melony asked his name. He said Shaw and Melony felt her heart skip a beat.

“I said you wouldn’t happen to know Michael Shaw and he said I am Michael,” Pugh-Weber said.

She responded with, “aren’t you the same Michael Shaw who broke into my house 20 years ago?”

Now it was Michael’s turn for the shock to set in. He asked Melony to pull into the parking lot and the two talked about what’s happened over the last several years. They exchanged numbers and have stayed in contact ever since.

In the conversations that followed, Melony learned that Michael had spent 10 years in prison shortly after he turned 18. In prison, he wrote what would amount to a memoir about his life so far. In the book, he writes about the woman he wronged and the apology he hoped he could offer someday.

Michael was 15 when he missed the bus and his father told him to walk to school. Upset, angry, Michael chose to break into a house instead.

“My house just happened to be in-between his house and school,” Pugh-Weber said.

Neither knew anything about the other until police tracked Michael down. Since that day, Melony says she and her family prayed for Michael.

“This was no accident. This was one of the most divine things to happen to me. It’s really something that God is doing and I’m glad that I’ve got him as a partner now,” Pugh-Weber said.

By sharing his story of surviving prison and finding support in Melony, Michael is helping young people find an outlet down a better path.

“If you give a child something to do, something to look forward to, their thinking and their processing wouldn’t be the same. They wouldn’t go outside looking for drugs. If we all can think together and act together, maybe a lot of things will change,” Shaw said.

Michael has started his own non-profit called One Love, One Life, One Family and promotes a healthy active lifestyle for kids in the neighborhood. He plans to host another family fun day over the summer and has his sights set on Father’s Day.