AMITYVILLE - Donald Andy "Donnie" McClurkin Jr. is a gospel star with a higher calling - he wants to live by serving people.
The Amityville native's vocal gift captivates millions of Gospel fans worldwide.
He has won three Grammy Awards and recorded three albums that went platinum.
He sang at the White House for President George W. Bush. He also performed for anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela upon his release from prison.
McClurkin says he owes his success to God.
"You're looking at somebody who never learned how to play music by classical terms, but just by the inspiration of God. Somebody who never had vocal training but just by God. He gave it to me," says McClurkin.
For McClurkin, the limelight of success and accolades was born in the darkest of times. "In '68, the bottom just dropped out of our family," he says.
When McClurkin was 8 years old, his 2-year-old brother Thomas was killed by a speeding driver in front of their home on Chestnut Road.
Soon after the loss of his brother, McClurkin says he was sexually abused by male relatives.
He says his troubled childhood nearly broke his spirit. But at age 9, he became a born-again Christian - finding refuge in the church and renewed strength in singing gospel.
Today, he's made it his mission to give hope to the faithful. As founder and senior pastor of Perfecting Faith Church in Freeport, McClurkin shares the lessons of his painful past, his fulfilling present, and the message that people can overcome life's adversities.