Phil knows firsthand about the overwhelming dangers on the streets of Atlanta.  Starting in 1991 there have been three occasions where he was physically attacked, stabbed or shot.  Fights on the street, fights with neighbors, and then in 2003 he was assaulted and shot on his job at a convenience store that required six months of physical rehabilitation. Phil admits today he made wrong choices by selling drugs and getting into fights with police officers. During this time between the ages of 13 and 20, he also had some responsibility to keep his family financially afloat.  His birth father left the home when he was six. With his father long gone, later on the family was made up of a step-father, along with four brothers and a sister. His step father is still in his life and Phil’s mom is a woman who pulled herself out of drug addiction 40 years ago and now holds an important place in his life.  Their life as a family was hard to keep on track. They moved around a lot trying to keep ahead of what was in their way.

By 2004 Phil ended up in an Atlanta crisis center but stayed only one week and that is when he made his first call to The Quinn House. Phil came into our men’s program but left after 38 days. We didn’t hear from him for over six months but he called again and re-entered the program in 2005. This time around, Phil stayed with us seven months working really hard on himself, but once again, the streets of Atlanta called and he left.  Phil found his way back to us again and was made one of our donation pickup drivers. During this time he worked really hard on himself and made a great contribution to our operations here.  But one more time, Phil left for Atlanta and was gone for over two years. We had lots of people praying for Phil.  We knew him to be a man who truly struggled more than most people do with emotional and spiritual issues.  We kept him in constant prayer, hoping again to see “our prodigal son” walk up Perry Street. Our prayers were answered. In 2009 Phil called us and made a commitment to work our program for two years. 

During this time, Phil worked very hard at becoming the man he is meant to be. He joined our Staff and became our donations truck driver doing an excellent job in servicing the residents of Gwinnett County for donation pickups, along with pickups for donated food items to stock our licensed Food Bank here at the Quinn House. In addition, he also managed and supervised the men’s residence. And more importantly, he has on more than one occasion taken the pulpit in our chapel to tell his story in hopes that it will affect the lives of other men in our program. Now it is time, Phil tells us, for him to “Walk the Walk” and begin his life again.

“The best thing The Quinn House did for me”, says Phil, “was to hold me responsible for other people here. That has helped me learn how to be a responsible person every day. I want to keep doing that always. You just have to give God a chance to change you and then He can use you to change other people.” He has learned that there is great happiness and peace in stepping out and helping others – not to mention the blessing it also holds for us.

After completing his GED, Phil is hoping to have a job that will allow him some time to travel.  But he also feels very strongly about making a contribution to the people in his area of Atlanta.   He has the gift of “barbers’ hands” so he would like to donate his time also cutting hair at no charge for men down on the streets in Atlanta.

“A mediocre life is not something I want,” he said last week while getting his things together to leave.  “I want to stop losing things.  I want to be able to hold on to things and people I care about.”

We know we’ll always have Phil in our life here at The Quinn House even though he may live elsewhere.  And for that, we are grateful; and for the opportunity to offer our men’s program to someone who may call us or come up the front steps of our house today……