Former Hells Angel now trying to help youth avoid his poor choices

By Adam Donnelly
July 30, 2018 - 12:40pm Updated: July 30, 2018 - 1:49pm

KAMLOOPS — A tale of an outlaw biker, who falls from grace and end up addicted to drugs on the streets of East Vancouver. It sounds like a script meant for Hollywood; instead, it was Joe Calendino’s life story.

Calendino was a full patch member of the Hell’s Angels before falling into a life of drug addiction on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. During his journey through recovery, he decided he wanted to help others avoid the choices he made which got him into trouble, so he wrote a book, outlining his life’s journey, and was at Chapter’s bookstore in Kamloops on Saturday signing books and meeting fans.

“I got kicked out of the club, made a lot of poor choices. I was even a handful for the Hell’s Angels,” Calendino said. “[I had] lost everything to the lower east side of Vancouver, which is ground zero for addiction. In walked Kevin Torvick when I was on a prison floor after getting caught with $10 worth of crack cocaine, and I just looked up at him and said I never want to see a kid go through this.”

His novel titled “To Hell and Back: A Former Hell’s Angel’s Story of Recovery and Redemption” outlines Calendino’s rise through the ranks of the infamous motorcycle club, as well as his fall into the drug addiction. Calendino, who spent his younger years in Kamloops says he wrote the book to help youth make better choices than he did.

“It’s not about the club. It’s about Joe Calendino’s story, and then the fall. The pain on the family with addiction, and then the rebuilding of a man. And then from there, the building of an organization that’s building awareness nationally.”

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