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Kent Hall: From a bank robber, to a councilman and PTSI advocate

Kent Hall
Posted at 9:28 AM, Jul 21, 2022

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Kent Hall had a perfect life. He fought in the Vietnam War and finished his military career as a sergeant.

“Living this life of Mr. All American guy with three beautiful kids, beautiful wife," Hall said. I had it pretty well.”

But after the war, he began a new internal battle.

“I didn’t want to live anymore, and how do you explain that," Hall said. "I couldn't."

In the summer of 1980, Hall walked into a bank.

“I knew the banks policies were not to attack,” Hall said.

He thought maybe, if he tried to rob it, the police would kill him, and his wife and children could collect his life insurance.

“I had a toy gun, I didn’t have a real gun. I’ve never owned a real gun in my life,” Hall said.

He robbed that bank, but he got away.

“They called me the jogging bandit because I never ran away I just kind of jogged away and hurry up and catch me, if you would,” Hall said.

Every month for two years, he robbed a bank.

"I robbed another bank, robbed another bank, robbed another bank,” Hall said.

Until a police officer risked his own life, tackled him and arrested him, and his life was changed forever.

“When I was arrested, there was a police officer in Sylvania, Ohio that kind of broke protocol," Hall said. “He shouldn’t have done that and he saved my life.”

Facing up to 50 years in prison, Kent took a plea deal and spent six and a half years reflecting.

“I sat in my bunk and wrote letters to different people, and so on, and I started questioning God,” Hall said.

Until the answer came to him from writing on the wall.

“Through tears, on the wall right next to me, there were three words," Hall said. "God loves all.”

That's the day his life began to change.

“It was like an overwhelming peace," Hall said. "It was like I knew it wasn’t me doing all that other stuff.”

Fourteen years ago, Hall was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress related to his time as a sergeant in the Vietnam War.

“Even though you’re that suicidal, there’s still this instinct to survive,” Hall said.

Not only did he survive, he's thrived.

“In 2014, I came back to Michigan, and I organized the first PTSI, Post Traumatic Stress Injury, Awareness Day,” Hall said.

Since then, 46 states changed the word disorder to injury and Hall has advocated for every single one with the nonprofit groupHonor For All.

When he's not advocating with Honor For All, you could find him doing neighborhood watch, sitting on Williamston's City Council and the city's Parks and Recreation Commission.

“He just has such a passion for the community he lives in," Williamston Mayor Tammy Gilroy said. “He’s making that mark and leaving that footprint behind that people will look at something in city and go, 'Oh, Kent had a hand in that.'"

Leaving a little bit of himself in everything he does.

“Everybody he touches, he leaves a lasting mark," Gilroy said. “That’s just who Kent is.”

Right now, Hall is working on starting a project called the Honor For All Park in Williamston.

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