I moved to Roseland when I was seven years old and have been here ever since. After nearly 50 years here, it’s home. I played baseball when I was growing up — I was helped by baseball because it helped me stay off the streets and kept me from getting caught up in bad activities. I was a catcher and first baseman and had a scholarship to go to college, but then I got shot in the eye one day about three doors from my home.

I lost my eye, so I lost my scholarship. It was traumatic, but I’m still here, and that’s a blessing. I praise the Father.

Because baseball helped me as a kid, though, I try to give back to the community. Until my arthritis got too bad for it, I used to coach baseball, football, and basketball teams. A few players I coached went to college, and one even made it to the minor leagues.