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Homeless man tries to turn his life around

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by Mindy Aguon

Guam - If you've been stuck at a red light at the ITC intersection or in Hagatna, you may have seen him sitting in his wheelchair holding a cardboard sign asking for money. But tonight one homeless man has much to be grateful for thanks to the generosity of some angels in the Christmas spirit.

For the last five months, Franky Blas didn't know where he would lay his head at night. "I've been on and off in the streets," he admitted.

Each day he spent countless hours with the hot sun beating down on him collecting donations from generous motorists who were kind enough to roll down the window and give a dollar or some spare change. Over the summer Franky's mother passed away.  The two were inseparable and struggled for the last decade to keep a roof over their heads.  When his mother died, he lost the government assisted living leaving him to find shelter wherever he could.

"I was sleeping by Tamuning Mayor's Office, by the pavilion there. There were times it was nice and quiet and calm and then there were nights where it wasn't like that. There will be people there. I've had things stolen from me several times," he shared. "I head over to the pavilion and there is nowhere for me to lay down. I cannot lay down on the floor because of my condition it would be hard for me to get back up."

Thanks to the generosity of some in the community, Franky now has a studio apartment in Agana Heights where he resides temporarily until he receives feedback from the government on his application for Section 8. Others donated furniture, cleaning supplies and a television.

"Another friend of mine was helping me get some other stuff as well and we went to Kwang Hwa and there was a little keyboard and it's been so long since I've touched a keyboard.  I kind of stopped playing because I didn't have one for a while," he said.

You may catch him over the holidays at Payless Supermarket playing piano. It's a talent Franky has never shared with anyone but now that he is, he's able to bless others with his music while getting donations from those who listen. Amazingly, Franky remembers the notes even though he hasn't had a piano or a keyboard in years.

"It's been so long since I've played the keyboard. It's so long since I've played one and I didn't want to carry it out on the road," he told KUAM News.

He plays without sheet music and even with his arthritic condition that has deformed his fingers and has impaired the mobility in his legs leaving him bound to a wheelchair. This Christmas he is extremely grateful and while he doesn't know where or who he will spend it with, he's just thankful for the angels in the community who shared the holiday spirit with him.

He said gratefully, "I'd like to thank everybody that's helped me. If I name all of you we'd go into next year. There are so many of you out there that I'd like to thank."

He hopes to land a job in the New Year and his one Christmas wish is that the government develop more programs to help the homeless and low income on the island get back on their feet.

Those who would like to help Franky can call him at 685-9105.

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