'Tent City' Homeless Man Finds Reasons to be 'Thankful'
Fri, 26 Nov 2010 05:37:53 GMT —
Between the abandoned warehouses, just off a set of unused railroad tracks sits a place Abel Martinez calls home.
"I sleep here... she sleeps here... and that's about all," he said.
On any given day you'll find about 20 people living in conditions hard to imagine.
It's a virtual tent city.
The area in Harlingen is a place where lives and dreams, for one reason or another, have gone off track.
"I don't consider myself no better or no worse," Martinez said. "I don't hate anybody and I don't look down on anybody." Martinez served 20 years for an aggravated assault.
The tent he shares has been up for two months. "I don't want any pity," he said. "I don't want any shame." This Thanksgiving holiday is his first while living in a tent. His family has written him off, according to Martinez. He still feels love for them and love to those around him who he called his real "family." "All the people in 'tent city'... come down here and they get what they need... they pick it up... they take it with them," he explained. He's talking about his personal stockpile of charitable donations. Bags and shopping carts full of stuff that included: clothes, shoes, food and water. The donations are part a lifeline given to him for use over the months.
Martinez now wants to give it all away. "I thank God for every morning I wake up," he said. "I thank God for my girlfriend, even though I live like this and trying to make it... it's something to be thankful for... if we have friends, people that care, and see people that come around."
Martinez said life isn't easy at tent city.
He's hoping one day to land a job to get him out and into a home.
But for every sunset at tent city there's hope and thankfulness that he'll have another day to come.