Originally from Chicago and growing up in the Projects, Chekosi has never had it easy. Homeless for more than the last six years, having struggled with addiction, and now with an unshakeable faith in God, he freely shares, “It’s been rough!” He moved to Arizona a while back in an attempt to start over. He recognizes that he had adopted what he calls a “careless lifestyle.” A veteran who learned to weld in the Navy, and once a successful tradesman in civilian life, things began to unravel due to crippling depression. He says, “At one point, I didn’t care about anything, so I stopped working, lost my home and went into homelessness.” But things are looking up for Chekosi, as he comes into the SJW office at the Human Services Campus where he has a shelter bed at CASS. With a job offer in hand, he rings the SJW success bell announcing his new job and received a 31-day bus pass and a voucher to get the needed work boots so that he can go to work! His eyes are beaming indicating the huge smile beneath his face mask.
He is excited about working again. His new job will allow him to save and get his own apartment soon. Proud of his craft, he says repeatedly, “I love welding! This is a good company. I plan to stay here.” Humbled and touched at the applause he receives from everyone in the office as he rings the bell, as well as the personal invitation to call our Executive Director’s personal cell phone if he ever needs anything, he exclaims incredulously “I’ve never gotten anything like this. Thank you.” He continues to say “thank you” as we walk to my office.
Chekosi is a truly lovely man, in late middle age, with a gentle countenance. He says how blessed he feels that, with all he has gone through in his life, “today, I do not have a drug problem, no legal trouble, nothing. But I haven’t done anything. It’s all the Lord!” And as happy as he is for his new job and this new chance at life, he is wise enough to know that this good job which will provide him with good money can hinder him if he does not remain humble and vigilant about staying on the path. But not long ago, after moving to Arizona, Chekosi says he literally had a “come to Jesus” moment when this powerful voice inside of him basically gave him a proper talking to and things became very clear.
What does a job mean to Chekosi? “Definitely a second chance; but also, for me, a job as a welder gives me personal pride. It is my chance to put my signature on the different products that I make. I create quality and consumer confidence. And it’s about America. America can’t sustain without workers. It’s all of that!” His wise words to others who are struggling, “If you can change your attitude, you can change your future.” And adds that “when the Lord shows you what he can do, you know that if He can do THAT, then the sky’s the limit!” We are happy for, and proud of Chekosi, and asked that he stay in touch to let us know how he’s doing.
What does a job mean to Chekosi?
His wise words to others who are struggling, “” We are happy for, and proud of Chekosi, and asked that he stay in touch to let us know how he’s doing.
We are happy for, and proud of Chekosi, and asked that he stay in touch to let us know how he’s doing.