Danny Trejo speaks at Dismas House event; shares his story as an ex-convict

SOUTH BEND, Ind. --- A Hollywood star made a stop through Michiana Wednesday to inspire those who need a second chance.

Actor Danny Trejo made a stop at the Dismas House’s annual dinner at the Century Center tonight.

The Dismas House in South Bend assists ex-convicts with transitioning back into society, a cause Trejo says he holds dear to his heart having been to prison himself.

Trejo served 11 years in prison before getting into acting. He shared his experiences in prison before most got to know him on-screen in films like Machete and Spy Kids.

“Getting released from prison is kind of like being on a fast merry go round and jumping off,” Trejo said. “I got out in 1969. Yea I went to prison I did all that stuff we do. I don’t think I would’ve even stayed out if it was not for the support group that I had.”

Trejo talked about the importance of places like the Dismas House for the recently released. His experiences in prison are something Dave Keck, who was in the audience tonight, can relate to.

“I went to prison when I was 15 stealing cars, being in a gang,” Keck said.

In Kecks’s experience, people are often quick to judge people who go to prison. That’s why he thinks Terjo’s message is so important.

“They have a language in prison called homeboys,” Keck said.” Now it’s broke down it can be same state, same race, same gang, but for me I consider Danny a homeboy.”

Maria Stancati, the executive director of the Dismas House said there was no better person to speak at the event benefiting those recently released from prison than Trejo.

“Danny Trejo is what Dismas House is all about,” Stancati said. “He was incarcerated for 11 years in several different prisons. He got out of prison and changed his life around and that’s what we’re all about.”

Turning lives around is what both the Dismas House and Trejo proudly stand for.

“Look at Danny and let him represent all of those that are in prison and all those coming out of prison that the second chance does work,” Keck said.

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