JEREMY “JAY JAY” PARKS
Spare Change News
I was homeless for nine years in Florida.
My story begins on a cold night when my mom decided that I could not live with her any more, so she packed my stuff and put it outside the door.
I went to my friend’s house, because I was only 17 at the time. His mother took me in; I went to school like normal and got into fixing cars and ATVs.
When we graduated high school, my friend and I joined the Army. He went in as a tank driver and I went on to the Army Rangers.
Five years passed and I was wounded in Iraq when my motorcade exploded. Another gentleman and I were the only two survivors that day.
The Army told my family I was dead and they went to a funeral, but it was not I in the coffin. I showed up six months later and my parents thought I was a ghost.
After I settled down at my parents’ house, and my wounds healed, I began fixing my mom and dad’s car. My sister bought her first car, so I fixed that too.
I went to get a job; I got one at a garage where I worked for four years. I was forced to leave that job because of my suspended Florida license. I tried to get another job, but I couldn’t because the economy was so bad.
I lost my home, my car, and my respect for the government. I was homeless for the first time in my life and didn’t know what to do; I didn’t let that keep me down.
I went to Salvation Army in Formers, Fla. where they fed me every day and gave me a place to stay if it was cold outside. I made a friend named Paul, who works at the Salvation Army and he helped me so much. Paul made sure all the homeless people were safe and were not put down as drunks and bad people.
He had news people come and chose me to speak on the news about being homeless. He is a good man and God will bless him as he continues to do God’s work.
I moved to Massachusetts to better my life and to restart the Boston Guardian Angels. My chapter leader moved up here to be with his kids and I tagged along. I came up here and found out that the shelters up here don’t help you out.
My friend and his friend got kicked out of a shelter in Cambridge for no reason, and it makes me mad that shelters can do this. They should have their money and fancy stuff taken away and be homeless for two months. That should show them how us homeless people live.
We need more soup kitchens, so we can get a warm meal and a place where we can get a shower.
We need more shelters that care for the homeless and don’t treat us like a piece of garbage, but like a person. The homeless also need a place to go where the police won’t bother or make things more difficult for us.
JEREMY PARKS is formerly homeless and a member of the Guardian Angels.