Originating from East Beckley, WV, Rodney grew up in the neighborhood what most people from the area call the “Redbrush”. Crime ridden and infested with drugs, Rodney’s environment was tumultuous and many believed that the youth there were destined to become products of their environment. His childhood dream was to become a star athlete, playing golf, running track and playing basketball. His dream would not come true, however he persevered in his academics. Rodney has many times revered his eldest brother, Damon as his idol and hero. “Everything he did or accomplished, I wanted to do twice as good”. Sorrell stated.
Rodney graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School in May of 2011, and soon after attended the Potomac State College of WV in the fall. He would spend a year completing general studies before transferring to Marshall University in the fall of 2012. “Potomac was a pretty tough move for me. I had never been away from home for that long so it took a toll on me mentally,” He said. “When I transferred to Marshall, things became easier because I knew people there. I was a shy kid, so I wasn’t too excited about meeting new people.” Rodney struggled academically in the beginning of his college career, which led to him being unable to attend school twice from January 2013 to August 2014, and again from January 2015 to January 2016. “I wasn’t focused. My mother was getting sick, and my other two siblings were using drugs which stressed her out more.” In the Spring Semester of 2016, Rodney returned to Marshall and his GPA increased every semester since then. He made a vow to himself to be successful to make his mother proud. “I wanted to give my mom something to smile about for once because she hasn’t been truly happy in a very long time. I couldn’t give up because I would’ve just been adding more disappointment for her. I love her too much to do that.” Rodney graduated from Marshall in May 2019, with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology.
Returning home after graduation, Rodney was living with his brother while working and saving money to get his life together. “I was working at Kroger, for a total of 3 or 4 years off and on.” Sorrell explained. “I was always on a register and people would make small talk with me, asking how old I was and if I was in school. So I would give them my whole college spill.” He chuckled. “As soon as I got back home, I felt this immense pressure on me to find a good job. Some of my family and friends and people from the neighborhood would ask me what I was going to do next. I didn’t know!” He expressed loudly. He started sending his resume to a myriad of different companies for the next 3 months. Tired and uninspired, Sorrell began to think that his efforts were futile. Little did he know, one sunny day in August 2019 would change his life dramatically.
“I came to work that day so mad.” He said. “I was called from my department to come help in the front, so I went to help. The customers were making small talk as usual, so I put on this fake smile just to get through the day. All I could think about was how to get a better job.” He sighed. “So this lady comes through my line, and asks me about myself and how old I was. So I told her and I mentioned my plans for graduate school. The lady behind her was the angel that God sent to answer my prayers.” he said. That lady happened to be Angela Martin, CEO of Compass Counseling, LLC. “She overheard our conversation and chimed in. She had this concerned look on her face I’ll never forget.” Sorrell explained. “She told me that she worked in the field I was interested in, which was social work, and she told me to call her the next day. So, I did just that!” He smiled. Starting work with Compass in September 2019, Rodney has flourished into a bright young counselor and has been diligent and precise in his work. He is currently working at the Raleigh County Day Report Center doing substance abuse counseling, and also leads a young men’s group at his church called “Jr. Man Cave”. He prides himself on being thorough and on top of his game. He says that he has come a long way, but has a long way to go and is delighted to be learning how to help others one day at a time. He has recently been accepted and enrolled into the MSW program at Marshall and will start in the fall of 2020, with plans to stay with Compass and continue to help people in his community.
“I want to help people with substance abuse disorders because the opioid epidemic has affected my immediate family. My reason for this is to try and save mothers from all over from having to endure the pain of their child being addicted to illicit drugs or alcohol. I couldn’t save mine from that, but if I can make her happy, if only for just a moment, it will be so worth it to me.”