Location: Clayton County w/Darryl Starks
Male, Age 55
“A good man who will try to help if he can”
Daniel Enger: (Interviewer) Good afternoon, Today is October 23, 2021, and we’re here in Forest Park, in Clayton County in Georgia. My name is Daniel Enger and I have the pleasure of being here today with you Rick, thank you very much for taking time to talk. I’m looking forward to hearing your story and to learning from you. Rick my first question is a really big one namely, please tell the story of your life from the time you were a small child up to the present day. Please start by saying your first name.
Rick: Good afternoon, my name is Rick I was born in Atlanta I moved from the city of Atlanta to over here in Forest Park where I worked at Fort Gillem that’s where I first started working. At about 22 I started working for BFI Medical Waste, I got married had a boy and a little girl and basically that’s where it all began. I bought me a truck and I did pretty good I did it for like seven years, but you know the fuel prices went sky high and the truck business dropped, you know the money whatn officially there like it was. You know, everybody likes to say that I love myself I’m alright, but I found out that you work harder when you’re working for somebody else. So, my kids I got them out of school and grown my daughters in the Navy she’s in Alabama, my son he’s still here and I had an accident in the truck got that fixed and things just went on just like a bad slide. Got my truck back got it fixed and somebody stole my truck, finally work got that back, and then drinkin and drivin and that right der started a real landslide of everything I didn’t drive trucks no more. I went back to Stericycle it was BFI then, but they changed it to Stericycle, and I stayed there for about seven and a half years. When I left Stericycle it just everything just went completely down-hill and I end up over here on Old Dixie. And for about two years I been homeless, the hardest thing about being homeless is gettin the ID. So, when you don’t have the ID, I mean you really jus you can’t get your social security card cause really you need your social security card to get the ID and your birth certificate. I’m pretty sure that all that’s comin I talked to my daughter on that so I’m gonna be good on that, so I’m just sittin back waitin and tryna do make this a whole lot better.
Daniel: Rick, of all of the things you’ve accomplished or overcome in your life so far what are you proudest of?
Rick: That my son and my daughter I grew them up you know before things just went south and I’m proud of both of em, I love both of em to death.
Daniel: Rick, you’ve gained a lot of hard-fought wisdom from experiences in your life so far, if you were invited to share your wisdom with school kids in your community giving them guidance to live healthy, safe, stable, and happy lives what would you tell them?
Rick: Try to stay focused, keep some wants in your life don’t get older. . . I done had nice cars I mean it’s like you kind a lost stuff that you want and if you don’t have like a major want it’s kinda I’ll fall for anything. Just keep settin goals have something that you want to keep you going.
Daniel: I’d like to shift please now to here today. Rick, tell me in ways would you say life is going well for you these days? Please talk about how life is good for you at the present time.
Rick: Well, I mean I’m still livin and I can see a way out, at first it was kind a hard, but you know I can see a way out now.
Daniel: Rick, what led to those things going well for you, how did that happen? Who or what contributed most to your doing well these days?
Rick: Well basically, people that I run into that I knew, and you know they would come to me and say Rick you know this is not you, and it kind of motivated me because you really know it isn’t, so it makes you push a little harder.
Daniel: Rick, looking ahead now for you personally when it comes to living a healthy, safe, stable, and happy life what are your hopes and dreams looking ahead?
Rick: Basically, I just want a stable place to work, and a stable place just to stay. That’s what I say about teaching the kids you gotta want more because the more you want the harder you’ll try to reach. So, I mean I want just a little bit more than that now I guess but that’s about the main thing right now, a stable job and a stable place to sleep.
Daniel: Rick, what are some of the personal strengths you draw on as you pursue those hopes and dreams?
Rick: The willingness to keep fighting and keep working at it.
Daniel: What challenges and obstacles do you see standing between you and the realization of your hopes and dreams, what holds you back?
Rick: The no ID and finding a pretty good job that’s basically the hardest.
Daniel: Rick, you just mentioned two challenges and obstacles what needs to be done so that those challenges and obstacles can be overcome, and you can realize your personal hopes and dreams?
Rick: Wait and get my little paperwork for my ID so I can get out of here and look for a job and having an address when you fill out the application (chuckle) you know that’s basically one of the hardest things where you live, you can’t just really tell em that I’m homeless. (chuckle)
Daniel: Rick I’d like to move on now to the community. How would you describe your community, who are the people that make up your community?
Rick: It really doesn’t matter cause no matter where you go you got good, and you got bad most of them in this tight little neck community be pretty good people.
Daniel: When you think of your community are you thinking Old Dixie?
Rick: Yeah, just in this particular area.
Daniel: Now thinking of the folks in this community when it comes to living a healthy, safe, stable, and happy life how would you describe the hopes and dreams of people in this community?
Rick: Most of em are really going through about the same thing basically that I’m going through. I guess they have had and they’re really looking for something to give them a push, somethin that they really want. Just like I say a lot of people they work so much better when they’re working for somethin, you know I try much, much, much harder when I had kids and a responsibility that’s what I’m tryin to get back now a responsibility, I still got to be responsible for myself but sometimes you know we think we can take anything but being homeless really shows you (chuckles) that you need to get yourself together.
Daniel: Rick, in your community what are some of the strengths that people draw on as they strive to realize their hopes and dreams and live healthy, safe, stable, and happy lives? What are some of the strengths that people have in this community?
Rick: You know everybody can talk to another person and tell them “this is what you should do and this is what you should do” If you sit back and you listen it really would be right you know. So, some of the strengths in here people here do listen instead of taking it like it’s an insult. I guess it don’t matter where the message come from as long as you get it. (chuckle)
Daniel: Rick, again thinking about your community what are some of the challenges and obstacles that make it harder for people in your community to realize their hopes and dreams and live healthy, safe, stable, and happy lives, what holds folks back around here?
Rick: I would say basically, the ID and most of them have to go up to the little catch-out is where we go, and we get jobs and work like that. Sometimes you catch-out real good on a week, and some days it’s just flat. So, I think if most people had a way to get your ID it probably would be a little bit better. Cause I see some people that really want, and you got some that do, and you got some that jus done gave up you got a little bit of both.
Daniel: Rick, you just spoke about challenges and obstacles what needs to be done so that those challenges and obstacles can be overcome, and people in your community can realize their hopes and dreams and live healthy, safe, stable, and happy lives?
Rick: You know, to hear from people who have been there and are willing to give you a push.
Daniel: Rick, imagine please for a moment that you’re a powerful leader, a decision maker who can really make things happen. If you were a powerful leader, how would you change the system to help people in your community to realize their hopes and dreams and live healthy, safe, stable, and happy lives, as a leader how would you change the system?
Rick: I would set up somewhere that you could stay, and you could have an address you know I mean, you’ll weed out the one’s that really want it and the one’s that just happy the way it is. So, I would have lots of people working there who have been through it and who have already walked these footsteps, and someone who can motivate and change the minds of people who done jus gave up.
Daniel: Rick, my last question for you. If you had a million dollars and you could spend it to help your community realize their hopes and dreams and live healthy, safe, stable, and happy lives, what would you do, how exactly would you spend a million dollars to help your community?
Rick: The same way I would probably get a little building and make it for the homeless people in my community and get help for those who done just gave up. Cause you know you can’t really throw rocks at somebody who done just gave up cause you got different people in this world. And you got some people are strong you can’t look at em “well if it was me I could” no, because nobody is you, some people need more of a push than others.