Good Things Come to Those Who Wait

Mediaon September 6th, 2017Comments Off on Good Things Come to Those Who Wait

Good Things Come to Those Who Wait“I bathed copses, dressed them and cut their hair. I never thought twice about it. I believed it was God’s work.” Dexter Daniels-Fleming sat across the table from me and smiled, his eyes lighting up with kindness and humor as he caught the quickly-concealed look of horror on my face. Dexter grew up in the West End of Cincinnati. He played basketball and baseball in high school. After graduating high school, Dexter attended Wilmington College for a couple years. He got married and worked in a steel factory. Dexter had five beautiful children. Life went smoothly until his wife unexpectedly passed away from cancer.

Dexter suddenly found himself a single parent with five little kids. He turned to his extended family for support. His brothers pitched in and together they raised his kids while he worked several jobs. “It was every bit a family affair,” he says. “I could not have raised those kids without support and help from my family.” He started working at a local hospital as a janitor and then went back to school to become a nurse’s aide.  He worked there for many years, until the hospital abruptly enforced a policy to not employ individuals with a felony record. Dexter, who had committed a minor felony many years ago, was laid off. In disbelief and shock, Dexter pleaded to be allowed to continue, arguing that he had been a good employee and that the felony had taken place long ago.  In spite of everything he did to fight it, Dexter was let go and found himself unemployed with several mouths to feed and bills to pay.

Good Things Come to Those Who WaitQuite by chance, Dexter found employment at a local funeral home. He started in maintenance, but soon became the go-to guy for everything. He drove the limo and sometimes the hearse, fixed everything, helped embalm and dress corpses. “Working in a funeral home was not easy. I saw death every day. But I did not let it get to me. It actually brought me closer to God and put life in a different perspective, ” Dexter remembers.  He felt he was there for a reason and found it oddly satisfying to help those who were faced with loss and grief. He worked there until the funeral home changed hands and new management brought in their own staff. Dexter was laid off.  Desperate to make ends meet, he and his brothers started a small convenience store in their neighborhood. He also went back to school at Gateway Community and Technical College and started studying Human Services.

A month ago, Dexter found himself attending a Community Job Fair. He was of course looking for stable employment. He also needed to update his Forklift Certification from a long time ago.  To his surprise, he ran into someone there who handed him a flyer for the Freestore Foodbank’s LIFT the TriState Program. “It was a strange coincidence. I felt like it was meant to be. This program Good Things Come to Those Who Waitseemed like the answer to my prayers.” Dexter applied to the program, with the feeling that he was doing what he was meant to do all his life. “My goal was to complete this program and find employment at the Freestore Foodbank,” Dexter comments. “I believe in the Freestore Foodbank’s mission and I want to give back to the community as best as I can – especially since I have studied Human Services.”

Dexter is now halfway through the program. “This has been a wonderful experience,” he remarks. “I am thankful for all the help and support I am receiving. I feel confident that I will be able to find a stable position after I graduate from this program.” Graduation is planned for October 13, 2017.  Dexter has renewed his Forklift Certification and is already interviewing with major logistics firms for a full-time position. However his hope is that he will end up working for the Freestore Foodbank.

To learn more about the LIFT the TriState, go to http://bit.ly/2v90S9C