Moore Place resident Kenny has two favorite words during football season: ROLL TIDE! Sports have always been a healthy distraction for Kenny. They’ve helped him move beyond some of the difficulties he’s faced in life.
A lifelong fan of Alabama’s Crimson Tide, Kenny came close to achieving his dream of playing football under legendary coach Bear Bryant. But during Kenny’s senior year in 1972, his dream slipped away during one of his final high school games. He was tackled after intercepting a pass, injuring his knee and losing his promised scholarship.
Kenny’s success as an athlete helped him forget the trauma he experienced as a child. Lettering in nine sports – including swimming, water polo, track and baseball – was a way to avoid dwelling on the tragedy he witnessed on his tenth birthday, when he watched his father stab his mother to death. After the brutal loss of his mother, Kenny ended up in an orphanage in Birmingham. His talent as an athlete offered a path to success – until that fateful game.
But even when Kenny’s athletic dreams were crushed, he didn’t give up. He found his way into a career in the restaurant industry, working as a cook in various restaurant chains. At one point, he was a sous chef at Harrah’s Casino in Las Vegas. That’s where he fell in love with Carmen, an interior decorator.
They spent more than three decades together in South Carolina. And then the unthinkable occurred: Carmen was hit by a truck. She was killed instantly, and Kenny watched it happen. He was devastated and numbed his pain with drugs. “When she got killed, I thought crack was my god – my savior,” he recalls. “Eventually, I looked in the mirror and saw that crack was gonna kill me.”
Kenny’s journey ultimately brought him to Moore Place. He was one of the first tenants when the apartment community opened a decade ago. “It’s a lifesaver,” he says. “If I wasn’t here, I’d be dead by now.”
He embraces chances to rise to new challenges. Kenny recently completed a summer wellness challenge, and he’s working to become a peer support specialist. It’s a chance for him to champion other trauma survivors as teammates in the field of recovery. We are cheering for his continued success!