Former Yemen captive recognized at son’s college graduation

MARTIN, Tenn. — A local man held captive in Yemen for the past six months arrived home earlier this week just in time for his son’s college graduation.

Screen Shot 2016-05-07 at 4.52.26 PMMark McAlister sat in the stands at the University of Tennessee Martin’s graduation watching his only son graduate from college, but just a few weeks ago his family wasn’t sure if this would be a reality.

“Because of the circumstances, I really didn’t think I was going to make it. As a matter of fact I kind of decided not to even hope for it. I tried to take my mind off of it but again, God made two miracles appear and I’m here today,” McAlister said.

Mark’s family said he has been held captive in Yemen for the past six months while working a contracting job and he was released last month. He arrived home in Greenfield just a few days ago.

“I’m just so happy to be here, I’m just gonna put God and family first you know, and I’m gonna do my best from there,” McAlister said.

“I didn’t think it was gonna happen I hoped that it would happen, but I really didn’t believe it would happen. I didn’t think he would be here in time for it, but I’m grateful that he is,” his wife Crystal said.

Mark said he hopes to use his captivity as a witness for God.

“I remember when I was sitting in the area that they held me in and thinking if I could just get home sit upon my porch and listen to the birds sing and look at God’s creation you know. I’ve more or less been given a second chance at life,” Mark said.

“I wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for Dad, not just financially, but mental support. I mean you’ve got to have people support you. I know it’s been my dad’s dream since I was in high school to go to college and be a graduate and here I am,” Christian McAlister said.

During the graduation ceremony the McAlister’s were recognized and received a standing ovation. The family said they give all the glory to God and continue trusting in Him.

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