In 2017, Martin Rogers lived a normal life. The US Army veteran was born and raised in Asheville, NC and lived there with his wife and child until a nasty divorce abruptly left his life in pieces. Known by his friends as “Marty”, he left the mountain city he had loved and called home for most of his life in search of a fresh start. A friend of his invited him to Myrtle Beach to join him in starting a new business, a custom motorcycle shop. Things were looking up, and Marty moved to the area in 2018. But shortly after moving here, Marty was left stranded by his friend and business partner. He got another job and an apartment, but the high cost of living in the Grand Strand combined with his child support payments put him in financial jeopardy. Even working full-time, his income was not enough to cover his rent, basic living expenses, and child support, resulting in him becoming homeless.
Upon entering our shelter, Marty started working on his goals: getting a job, a replacement ID, and saving money for housing just to name a few. And not only was he working on his goals, but Marty became instrumental at the Men’s Shelter. He helped with The Rolling Forward Project in the beginning stages of the program, repairing donated bicycles to increase transportation options for clients to be able to get to work and resources. Marty soon started helping in the kitchen, which became a passion for him and later, a career.
Things were going well for Marty, with his ID reinstated, a quick promotion to full-time employment with the food service company, and saving money for housing, until early March 2020, when he was laid off due to COVID-19. Although his circumstances took a turn for the worse, Marty kept his spirits high and made himself available to New Directions when we needed him the most. When the shelter self-quarantined during the spring and volunteers, case managers, and our kitchen manager worked from home, Marty was put in charge of the kitchen and oversaw the meals.
During his time at New Directions, Marty has helped cook an estimated 300+ meals at New Directions for Men, helping serve hundreds of clients as well as those in the community in need of a meal. In August 2020 with a new job working for a security company and having saved some money, Marty has moved on to transitional housing and afterward will move into his own place. He says that his time in our shelter has “been an adventure”. In his own words, “It’s time to close the book, turn to another chapter… Being here I have learned that I can stand on my own two feet”. We asked Marty what advice he would give to someone experiencing homelessness. He said, “Stay strong and believe in yourself, because nobody can change anything but you”. Though he was a bit nervous about moving out on his own, his kind and helpful disposition along with these words of wisdom, will help see him through.