WICHITA FALLS, Tx (RNN Texoma) - This weekend, the Midwestern State University class of 2018 will walk across the stage and into the next chapter of their lives.
One of those students, Whitney Threatt, is reflecting on how the man who brought her justice13 years ago helped her get to where she is today and the letter that brought the prosecutor to tears.
"Dear Mr. Wilson, Where do I begin? First and foremost I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart," 22-year old Threatt read aloud from the letter she sent to former Ellis County Prosecutor Patrick Wilson.
"I knew that it was time to start mailing out graduation announcements, and he was the first one I put on the list," said Threat.
She said she had to show him how far he has gotten her and how far she has come in her life.
The letter said, "I know it has been quite some time, but in 2005 you helped me to have the man who molested me convicted."
Wilson, now the Ellis County District Attorney, said he barely got through the first paragraph of her letter before it hit him.
"I started tearing up and had a hard time even finishing it until I collected myself, so I was very moved by her letter," said Wilson.
At the time of the trial, Threatt was just 9-years-old.
"Walking into the courthouse was extremely intimidating especially knowing that I was going to have to be sitting almost face-to-face with the man that molested me," said Threatt.
She said Wilson stood by her the entire time and reassured her that it was not her fault.
"If it weren't for him fighting for me like I was his own child, I don't think I would have the resiliency that I developed, and I don't think I would be where I am today," said Threatt. "Because of him, I have the strength and the courage to not let myself ever be defined as a victim ever again."
Wilson said to see how he impacted her means the world.
"To actually see in real life how you have touched somebody and how your influence on them manifested itself so much later in their life in such a real and tangible way, that's humbling and inspiring," said Wilson.
Wilson has inspired her as well.
"I always had in the back of my mind I want to help kids like I was helped by Patrick Wilson," she said.
Right now, she works at the YMCA in Wichita Falls, and on Saturday she will have a degree in social work.
"If I could be that one support system for any child, my life would be fulfilled," said Threatt.
She is turning her past into a purpose.
"'I've been there. I know how it feels. I lost my mom at a young age. I've been sexually abused. I've been homeless at one point," she said. "So I know that all these things just light a fire under me to want to help kids in that situation.
Wilson said Whitney is already helping other kids. He was contacted by someone who saw her story and that person wanted to share it with a 10-year-old boy who is in the hospital to give him hope to press on.