Brewer has done restoration work on vehicles since he was young. It's something he took to quickly, felt he had a natural knack for and calls a God-given talent. Brewer spent a greater part of his career working with a prominent body shop in Shelbyville and enjoyed what he did, but there was something missing.
While Brewer put in an honest day's work, when 5 o'clock rolled around, he knew it. This is when the drinking and smoking started.
At the time, Brewer didn't realize these substances had a major hold on his life. He started losing weight. His wife thought there was something wrong with his health and urged him to see a doctor. The doctors couldn't find anything, but Brewer knew some changes were needed.
Looking back, Brewer said he wouldn't have admitted he had a drinking problem at the time, but now realizes that was a lie he was telling himself. Brewer's marriage was in turmoil and his judgement cloudy, he was dealing with feelings of conviction and felt like God was, in turn, dealing with him.
Brewer was invited to church with a longtime friend who was battling his own addictions. When Brewer arrived at the service, there was a sense that this was where he was supposed to be.
"At that moment in time, as soon as I went to church, I felt like I was home," said Brewer. "I just felt like I needed to be there. My wife and I both felt the urgency of needing to be there."
Soon, Brewer started working to put down the drinking and smoking. Brewer started attending church and even started teaching Sunday School, but things didn't immediately take a turn for the better. Brewer now jokes that members of his church have referred to him as the modern day Job, whose biblical tale is one of loss and restoration.
After getting involved with church, Brewer's wife started having her own health problems, which led to two brain surgeries. Brewer feels that if they had been participating in their former lifestyle choices, that his wife wouldn't have made it.
Financially, there was a period where they thought they may lose their house. It was a rough road for someone who felt like they were finally doing right. There were moments when Brewer questioned God.
"Looking back now, I know it was God trying to build the character in me to be where I'm at now," said Brewer.
Around this time, Brewer broke his wrist at work. It was a bad break, one that left him recovering for around eight months. He again asked God, "Why are you allowing this to happen?"
Fast forward a few years and those answers are finally becoming clear as Damascus Road Restoration and Body Shop continues to thrive and do well.
While in the bad times Brewer felt that everything was going wrong in his life, he now knows it was all meant to happen. It all opened the doors for him to start his own business.
"I didn't realize what was going to come of it," said Brewer. "It was a pretty amazing ride."
In the midst of his trials and tribulations, Brewer became involved with Legion Ministries and an idea was born. The idea was to create a business that hired people who had lost their way, people who struggled with addictions or just got out of jail.
After taking part in the ministry program created by Legion ministries for an allotted amount of time, that person then becomes eligible to work at this business. Brewer, who feels that he's a man of second chances, wanted to use his God-given talents to help others.Brewer soon informed his employer that he would be leaving to start his own business. For obvious reasons, the news didn't go over too well at first with his current boss. Yet, after Brewer explained his reasons for opening the business, things smoothed over. After much prayer and consideration, Brewer started looking for his own building.
Unfortunately, the building Brewer felt led to happened to be next door to his former employer.Brewer thought to himself, "Lord, if that shop was anywhere else, I'd jump all over it, but why there?"
Unsure of what to do, Brewer decided to pray about the situation, telling God that if that was the building he was meant to have, then to give him a name for the business. Later that night, after saying his prayer, the name came to him, Damascus Road Restoration and Body Shop. Brewer knew this was what his was to name his business.
Damascus Road, which refers to the biblical account of Saul being converted to Paul on the road to Damascus, was the perfect fit.
Brewer thought to himself, "Well, not only are we going to be restoring cars, we are going to be restoring lives."
Brewer moved into the building, eventually purchasing his former employer's building next door. That was in 2010 and Brewer's vision hasn't changed since.
"To get to see people really wake up and to see God do real works and real wonders in other people's lives has been the biggest blessing since we opened up the doors," said Brewer.
Brewer looks back on the years leading up until now, feeling that they happened for a purpose.
"It was amazing because right before I did this, I started teaching Sunday school and I was teaching out of Psalms 139," said Brewer. "Psalms 139 talks about how God knitted us together while we were still in our mothers' wombs. No matter where we go, we can't escape him."
Restoration is Brewer's focus now, not only in automobiles but in the lives of those who come to work for him.
"A lot of people coming out of jail are convicted felons and it's hard for them to get a job. In the body shop industry, we don't care," said Brewer. "We really don't care what your background is as long as you come in, work hard and do what you're supposed to do. We teach them everything we can about the business that we can, then try to place them in a job. We give people an opportunity to learn a trade and provide for their family once again."
While the past few years seem to have flown by, Brewer is amazed at the transformations that have taken place, remarking at what he calls "the overwhelming presence of God" that he feels now permeates his business and life.
"It's a totally different side of life," said Brewer. "God is still working his wonders among us."
We would like to thank the Times-Gazette for permission to reprint this article.