Anthony's Story

Valerie Johnson
Anthony smiling at the camera during the interview

I met Anthony at my first participant picnic back in 2019. He was the self-described "Grill Master", standing over multiple grills and looking completely at home with a large spatula in his hand. Participants would stop over to say hi throughout the afternoon as they helped themselves to food and games. He was obviously well-known to staff and participants alike, and I took note.  

anthony at the cookout with grills behind him

We work with more than 600 participants across eight housing teams, so I can’t claim to know them all. But some that stand out, and Anthony is one of them. You know when Anthony is in the building because you can hear him from a mile away.  

Anthony joined Pathways in 2008 and proudly boasts of being the 8th person accepted into the program. He joined our first Housing First team before we even had an office. I recently asked him if he remembered how it felt to move into that first apartment, and he told me he remembers it vividly, even 15 years later.  

“I thought they were going to come put me out. The first six months, I was afraid to sleep on the bed. I slept on the sofa. Everything was like, wow, this is really nice. I remember I didn't want to scuff the floors. Because they were hardwood floors, and it was so shiny. And I had these old big old boots. I mean, wow. I mean, I took to it like it was mine in the beginning. But yeah, I just couldn't believe it. I had a house. They gave me a house. I got real lucky. I got a front yard, back yard, trees. I'm a country boy. I can't be in a place without trees.”

Anthony has since moved to a new apartment, but he still has trees. He also moved to a new team – Team 6, our step-down team for participants who no longer need a high level of support. Anthony told us he’s been with Team 6 for about five years now.  

He spends his time working in the neighborhood. He does home repairs, lawns, and odd-and-ends for his neighbors. His current apartment has a porch, and he keeps it loaded with tools. As he says, he’s “all about getting that dollar.”  

The more you talk to him, though, the more you realize just how much he cares about and is involved in his neighborhood. After a neighbor’s husband passed, she gave his car to Anthony because she wasn’t planning to drive it. Anthony’s working on insurance and registration, and in the meantime, the car is parked in front of his house so he can keep an eye on it.  

He also cares about the next generation, who may be growing up facing the same challenges he faced growing up. Anthony told me, “No kid is bad; there's just nobody there to talk to them. Or show them somebody does care about them. So even if I'm not related to you, I don't care what your preferences are or what you're doing. I just don't want you to end up behind bars.” He cuts their hair, he plays video games with them (his set-up is extra – SIX TVs in one room!), he hosts holiday gaming tournaments to keep them out of trouble and away from guns.  

As we wrapped up our chat, I asked Anthony what he would want to tell people who support Pathways. He told me “This is worth it for anybody who wants to donate to help a lot of people out because it does bring us back. Here I am, back to life again. Back in my family's life, in a lot of ways due to Pathways. I've always had a positive thing with my you know, my children and my family. But now it's a whole lot better.” 

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