“We’re scattered all over the world now, but we still stay in regular contact. We still motivate and push each other. Not long ago, one of my friends was thinking about dropping out of college, and we all got on the phone. He didn’t drop out. We have lifetime support that will never change, and we know each other's boundaries.
“When I first got out of the military and came back to Memphis, I bumped into the guy who set me on fire when I was a kid. I used to think, ‘If I ever see him again, I’m going to do this, I’m going to do that.’ And when I saw him, I was angry. I approached him and said, ‘Do you know who I am?’ He said ‘Nah.’ I said, ‘Yeah, you know who I am.’ He kept saying, ‘I’m sorry for what happened to you, man. I didn’t have nothing to do with that.’ Rage just instantly clicked on inside me, but I stopped. One thing that the military taught me was control. I could easily, easily have hurt him, but I didn’t. I let it go. I look back at all the things I was able to do because of what I went through, and I can say he played a part in pushing me through the path of my life. I enjoy my freedom. I enjoy being able to go out and touch these different countries. I enjoy the friends that I have. And if it wasn’t for him, I probably wouldn’t have had all that.
“I’ve been with the Grizzlies TEAM Mentor Program since August, and I plan to keep on doing it. I’m also mentoring (by phone) a 13-year-old kid on Staten Island. I found out about him through a news story. He too had been set on fire by bullies, so I contacted the family and have been in touch with them ever since.”