Tony "Do Good"

Photography by    Randy Bacon

Photography by Randy Bacon

I’m originally from Davenport Iowa. Well, actually, Le Clair is my home town. The Quad Cities. After my mom passed away, my family decided they liked Missouri so we moved down to Taneyville - I was down around the Forsyth/Branson area and I just ended up coming up here. I like it better than down there, so I stayed up here. I stayed at the Victory Mission for awhile but I got out of there the weekend after Christmas. Right now I’m just sleeping on the streets. I’ve got a little cubby hole spot that I’ve got. It works out pretty good - I stay mostly dry.

The hardest thing about being homeless is just being able to survive and make it day to day. You know, there’s finances and finding a job. That’s a hard thing right there. Just finding a job. I’m fifty-five years old and people look at that like “He’s too old - we don’t want to hire him” - there’s a whole lot of discrimination out there for people that are older as far as jobs. I’ve worked mainly doing construction. I have my master’s license. I owned my own business in Iowa up there for five years and then I joined the electrical union. And then 2002 things went bad with the electrical union - I actually got a job down in Branson as a construction superintendent. Went around building Old Navy’s and dress shops and just retail shops at malls and things like that.

What led to my homelessness? Trying to help other people out. I actually had an apartment out in Kirbyville, and I had a job working nights and I was trying to help some people out that I thought needed help, because that’s what I was told - they ended up taking advantage of me and I got behind on my rent, got evicted from my apartment. Had some stuff in storage and it burnt - I lost everything I had in storage. It’s just difficult sometimes. I’ll get back on my feet. I might take me awhile.

Advice I would give to others is just be happy with your life and try and be honest with everybody and do good. If you can help people, help them. And if they can help you, take the help because you never know. Just the Veterans Coming Home Center- they help us by feeding us. That helps a lot and gets us out of the weather during the day. It’s kind of nice. One thing I’ve noticed is that it would be nice if there was a pavilion park that was open during the day, and restrooms. Where we could just hang out. If we weren’t doing any damage or violating any laws. Where we could just go.

I’m me. Trying to survive. I’ve got a kid and a couple of grandkids in Pennsylvania, and an ex-wife. Boy that I adopted - I haven’t talked to my son that I adopted since February of last year. My boy, I keep in contact with him by text. I never get him to call me on the phone. Won’t answer the phone. But at least he knows how to text. I just, I don’t know - I’m possibly thinking about going back to Iowa where I’m from and maybe just start over there. In some ways, here in town you’re in the same rut. Same thing day in, day out, day in, day out. Week after week. I think maybe when the weather clears I’ll head back up to Iowa. I haven't decided for positive yet. I keep kicking the idea around. It keeps kicking back at me.

(Story chronicled in 2016)