I was homeless in final months of high school having reached the adult age of 18. My birthday present was a suitcase of my clothes having been packed by my loving mother and father. Problem was I still had a few months to go before my scheduled graduation from high school.
I went from friends home to friends home for several nights. I had about $37 to my name. Finally, I landed a room and board for $50 from my scout master and close friend and supporter. I already had a part time job at the local grocery store and as a meat cutter at a local butcher shop, but my days as a football player were over. My coach was very supportive as I was on the main string offense and defense playing as an end and tackle. He was very angry, and told me to get my cowardly ass out of his office. (His job was on the line so I fully understood his position.)
I did drop out of high school for a couple of weeks taking a job as a field hand on a hay farm full time. But then, I realized that education was the only way out of my situation. So late as I was, I returned to high school and my two part time jobs. I enrolled in the basic classes but my elective was a journalism class.
I became the sports editor of the award winning high school newspaper. I wrote a few articles but was not able to attend the state award ceremonies with my peers as I had those jobs to attend to. My journalism teacher threw the seven state awards across the classroom at me much to my surprise, and left the room as none of her hand picked students that had attended the ceremony had won.
My good neighbor a few weeks later called and told me that I also was his number one pick. (He was head of the draft board) I responded to him that I had decided to attend college. Up to that point, I really hadn't thought about it, but the Vietnam War was escalating at that time. Besides, if I couldn't get into college, I would prefer to enlist than be drafted.
So,... I learned about Godfrey Thomas Foundation from the guidance counselor at the high school, applied and much to my surprise .was granted tuition funds. I enrolled at a hospital training facility for two years, then opted for the university completing my degree in 5 more years. Finally, I secured my first teaching job in Arkansas and went onto teaching in Alaska, Indiana, and California for thirty three years.
I offered to pay the Godfrey Thomas Foundation the three thousand dollars that I obtained from them from my first monthly check. The Godfrey Thomas Foundation Committee called me and told me it would create problems for them with book keeping and taxes. It was a grant, and need not be paid back they said.
Today, I am retired, married to a nurse and we have a son who has three children and we live in California. I have contributed to my local community by being a charter member of a church, actively establishing a Sea Scout program, and a youth sailing program. We contribute to many national charities (Red Cross, Salvation Army, Goodwill, etc.), and we were active in supporting the rebuilding of an old theater in a nearby community so regular performances could be held there.
I am so grateful for the Godfrey Thomas Foundation. I don't know where I would have been or how my life would have ended up, but my options were few at the time. I know I made the best choice .
Thank you GODFREY THOMAS.
I received a generous grant from the Godfrey Thomas Foundation in 1970 to attend and complete college. (UALR) Due to the Foundation, I served as a public school teacher in Arkansas, Alaska, Indiana and California for a total of thirty-three years. While I received funds for books and tuition, I still had to work part time to provide for housing and living expenses.
I am grateful for the support of the Foundation and I sincerely hope that the Foundation continues to fund secondary educational opportunities for students of the local community.