Vicious stabbing leads pastor to start ministry for at-risk people

Matt Williams

While looking in the mirror, Kevin Ramsby is often reminded of how lucky he is to be alive.

“It is a constant reminder when there are so many scars all over you,” said Ramsby, a Rockford native who suffered a combination of 37 stab wounds and slashes to his body in an attack last summer. His abdomen, face, chest, neck, arms, hands and shoulder show scars and memories from a day he thanks God for every chance that he gets.

“I really feel like the Lord watched over us that night,” said Ramsby, a Highland Park, Mich., pastor.

Ramsby's experiences led him to start the Hope Lives Detroit initiative, which will provide life-skills training to at-risk individuals.

Vicious attack

The incident began as Ramsby awoke at about 3 a.m. Aug. 4 to the sound of glass breaking in his home.

As he walked down the stairs, Ramsby noticed a shirtless man walking through his home, and Ramsby jumped from the stairs to try to tackle the intruder.

What he didn’t notice was the large knife the man was carrying.

The first gash went into his abdomen, about 6 inches deep. He suffered many more wounds as he fought with the man until he could not fight any longer.

The intruder then dragged Ramsby into the kitchen and asked him where his keys and money were.

“I finally told him it didn’t matter anymore because I’m dead,” Ramsby said. “I was at the point where I didn’t think life was going to continue.”

Ramsby closed his eyes and began to pray for his wife and children. It’s then that he distinctly heard four words: “They still need you.”

“Those words gave me the ability to keep fighting for my life,” Ramsby said.

Ramsby will soon tell his story for the Biography Channel’s “I Survived” program. He leaves Monday for Los Angeles for the taping of the program. No air date has been set for the show. He has also been in contact with “The Oprah Winfrey Show.”

Positive attitude

Ramsby, 38, maintains a positive attitude because things could have ended differently, he said.

His wife and two children were visiting family and were not home during the attack; the knife broke during the confrontation; the neighbor who called 911 had just gotten home from work minutes earlier; the stab wounds missed all vital organs.

“The Lord can take bad situations and turn them around, and that is kind of my whole approach to it,” Ramsby said. “There were too many little details, and if any one of them had changed at all, it would have been a different ending.”

‘I hold no grudges’

Ramsby wants to give hope to people who feel they are no longer needed.

“There are so many people, because of their circumstances or their past choices — they have really lost that hope,” he said.

There remains little anger in Ramsby’s heart, he said, and he openly forgives the man who police believe is responsible for the incident. The man was arrested in Alabama and will be sent back to Michigan when his case there is closed.

Ramsby said he would like to hear the man’s story and what led him to the day that almost claimed Ramsby’s life.

“I have got no bitterness to him,” Ramsby said. “I want justice done, but I hold no grudges against him.”

Reach staff writer Matt Williams or 815-987-1389.