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Asheville man's difficult childhood helped shape a compassionate community leader

Our Person of the Week said he was destined to reach out to people who need help. Micheal Woods is executive director of Western Carolina Rescue Ministries and, most recently, a man with a grand plan. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

Our Person of the Week said he was destined to reach out to people who need help. Micheal Woods is executive director of Western Carolina Rescue Ministries and, most recently, a man with a grand plan.

"I just believe so much in people," Woods said. "Creating hope when so many of them have lost hope."

His passion project, Abba's House, opens Monday. It's a facility for women and their babies born addicted to opioids.

"My desire's always been to be able to help people," Woods said. "I think I relate a lot to our people."

Along with foresight, his hindsight puts life in perspective. Woods' mother fled an abusive relationship when he was four.

"I remember sleeping a few nights in a car, and we stayed with a friend," Woods recalled. "We finally ended up making it to my grandparents', and I remember the shame that my mom had. But I remember how family embraced it."

That's why helping those less fortunate is not an option.

"Wow, you know it was like it was decided for me," he said.

At East Tennessee State he learned how to be a team player in every sense. Woods was a point guard on three conference championships squads. At one point, the team was ranked eighth in the nation.

"You learn other people's strengths and their weaknesses that are on your team," he said. "It's your job to know how to facilitate and put them in the right positions, know how to succeed. Well, that translates 100 percent here."

Off the court, Woods is still dedicated to making everyone around him better. He provides hope by giving folks an assist.

"I know there's so much on the inside of people, and I have a desire to want to put them in a position to where they can succeed," Wood said.

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