Will’s story includes a times as a child when he never experienced safety, stability or success.
His father was not present. His mother struggled with addiction and was abusive towards Will and his sister.
At 14, Will was removed from his mother’s home by the Department of Human Services.
For the next four years, he was shuttled between dozens of foster parents, group homes and youth shelters across Oklahoma.
“I was a runner,” he recalls. “Each time I was placed, I would just take off.”
He lived with friends and became involved with a gang. At one point, he returned to his mother’s home but after a few months, she was unable to care for him.
A social worker arranged for him to enroll in the Tulsa Boys Home on two occasions. The first time, he “faked it” and ended up back on the streets. However, the second time, he began to work through his troubled childhood.
Once again, Will found himself bouncing around temporary residences, but at 17, a staff member at the Tulsa Boys Home invited into his home. “I lived with him until I turned 18.”
At 18, Will moved into his first apartment. However, a misadventure with friends resulted in a burglary charge. He spent the next 18 months in prison.
“When I got out, I knew something had to change,” he said. As a young adult, he returned to the Tulsa Boys Home, where Gregg Conway, its executive director, helped him enroll in welding school.
From there, Will’s story has included a one-way track to success. He worked as a welder for a while, but when buying a car at Keystone Chevrolet, the owner insisted on hiring him. “They saw something in me,” he said. “I guess I’m pretty good with people and am a good salesperson.”
Today, he works at Patriot Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram in Chandler, Oklahoma, and is married with three children, ages 5, 3 and 1.
“Now, I have what I always dreamed of – a great home, career and a wonderful family. My children will never experience what I did.”