I have known Kevin for over six years. During this time, we shot two short films on his life, shared many portraits of him and his ongoing story. With this exposure, people now ask me quite often, "What is Kevin up to these days? How's he doing?"
Well, Kevin came in a couple days ago and we had a great visit. It made me think, I have seen a whole lot happen in his life, but this year has been a huge one.
Beginning 2016, he was still struggling with being homeless. Then on Tuesday, January 26 at 7:30 PM his life was forever altered. Petra, the love of his life, was tragically killed after being hit by a truck as the two of them crossed the street. Kevin was at her side at the accident and at the hospital until she passed away four days later. I shared in his grief and saw him deal with this terrible loss. We actually had Petra's memorial at our gallery.
Then finally some good news. He was accepted for assisted living and officially moved into his own apartment in March and he has been off the streets every since. Throughout this year, I began to see Kevin blossom and grow with a new determination to improve his life. He started doing odd jobs, including several for us. He was staying out of trouble and really handling life's responsibilities much better.
When we announced our big special project on the homeless, The Road I Call Home, Kevin was first in line to be photographed, filmed and to share his story of struggle and hope. The image you see behind him is the portrait of Kevin we are featuring in the art exhibition.
Our opening reception and exhibition for The Road I Call Home was on October 5 (special VIP for the homeless) and October 7 for the public. On both days, he helped us all day long get everything set up and ready for the openings...and he wouldn't take a dollar for his efforts. Then a magical moment. During the public opening reception, a man who saw Kevin's portrait in the exhibition approached him as he sat in our gallery. They talked for a while and then the gentleman asked, "Kevin, do you need a job? If so, come to my company on Monday morning and fill out an application. We may have an opportunity for you."
Monday rolled around and Kevin hopped on his bike and road 10 miles to the business to fill out the application. The company hired Kevin and he started on that next Friday! He has been working there every since then.
Kevin is now getting his driver's license renewed (he passed the written already..he is quite proud of this), he is starting to save a little money, he shaved his beard (now if he'll just get his hair cut, haha), and he is hoping to be able to buy a truck someday. Kevin also told me how much better this job is making him feel. He feels more important and that he is now getting to the point where he can start giving back to society. He even mentioned that maybe he can see his dream fulfilled soon. And what is his dream? His dream is to work with youth that are homeless to help get them off the streets.
Kevin ended our visit with a nice surprise. He asked me, "So, can I take you to lunch on Saturday? It will be my treat to you. I would really like to do that." You bet I am going!