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The Story of a Fighter

Facing Hunger in Manhattan, Kansas

My adopted mother made me who I am.

I watched my mother be killed right in front of my face.

Duct taped and thrown into a closet.

I was severely abused as a child.

Born with fetal alcohol syndrome.

I’m very easily addicted to drugs and alcohol.

I’ve been addicted to pain pills.

I was a drug dealer in Junction City.

I used to sell marijuana, crack, cocaine.

Got busted in ’03.

Did my time, got out.

So I’m all clear.

I was lucky enough to have the strength to fight it.

My adopted dad was in the Marine Corps.

He taught me some survival skills.

If you’re not going to fight for your own right and your own life you might as well just bury yourself.

If you say you’re going to give up you might as well bury yourself.

I don’t believe in giving up.

The day I give up you might as well bury me.

I’m a fighter.

As much abuse as I went through I had to teach myself survival.

I lived under a bridge in Louisiana.

I lived there for 10-11 months doing odd jobs.

Then someone started giving me money and I had to get out.

I didn’t want no one feeling sorry for me, you know?

I wasn’t asking for handouts.

I tried to work my way through life.

I’ve been a truck driver, paramedic, nurse.

I took different college courses.

I went to Nashville University online, but I just wasn’t happy with it, so I quit.

If I haven’t tried it, I’m going to.

If I don’t know something, I’ll ask.

I can watch you do something and pick it up easy.

I’m not saying I’m better than anyone else because I’ll be doggone if I am.

I’m as equal as anyone else.

We may have had all different lifestyles or parents.

We have had all different growing up or teaching.

It doesn’t matter, you know.

We’re all individuals.

We all have talents.

Me, I want to help people.

Helping other people is my thing.

I try to give back; I donate clothes that don’t fit me no more.

I help people find resources for bills, housing, schools, whatever.

Someone needs help?

Call me.

They need a volunteer?

Here’s my number.

I’m disabled. I am really messed up pretty bad in my physical parts.

But I can still sit or stand for a little bit and I can help with answering phones.

Some of the richer people, they kind of think, “Oh they can do it, get a job.”

I don’t like that attitude.

You show me that attitude I’ll tell you to hit the door.

I said, “God put us all on this earth for a reason.”

My reason, I’ve always known this, was to help other people.

As told to Allyssa Barrios

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