Veteran Credits FOX 29 Reporter with Changing His Life

PHILADELPHIA (WTXF) A decade ago, he was a homeless veteran. Today, he's gainfully employed and helping others.

We've all covered stories that we knew right away, would have an impact. But sometimes, that impact doesn't hit us for years afterward. And so it was with a story of  Bruce Gordon's that aired more than a decade ago.

Ronald Boyette sits with  FOX 29's Bruce Gordon in the penthouse of the Bourse building and fights his emotions as he watches the story that changed his life years ago.

"That picture is what made me. Do everything I'm doing now,” Boyette said.

It was September of 2004. FOX 29 was at a Veterans Stand Down event for a story. Boyette was a homeless-- and hopeless. A vet looking for a new pair of boots to take back to the mission where he stayed. He had volunteered to do voter registration for 50 bucks.

His interview snippet-- we call it a soundbite-- lasted just six seconds on camera. But long enough for what Boyette now calls an epiphany, when he watched it from the mission that night.

"It hit me that, 'Hey, you're homeless.  You have to improve yourself,” he said. "I said, 'I gotta change.'  It was just something that came over me- I have to change.  I came straight to the airport the next week."

And he landed a job as a skycap. A job he proudly held for more than a decade. These days, he's often back at the airport, driving PEOPLE to meet their planes- here and at airports throughout the region. It's part of his job with a local concierge company called PrivLiv.

"I'm a chauffeur, I'm a house cleaner.  Whatever a concierge does, that's what I do,” Boyette said.

"I love this work.  I love it.  this is what i was meant to be doing.: I love helping people."

On this afternoon, "Ronii" is helping organize a combination event at the Bourse: a CD release party for a jazz and R&B musician friend and his own 66th birthday celebration.

"The last time I saw you I was homeless.  Now, I'm having a birthday party in the penthouse!  It's a big change!" A change made possible by the lens of a TV camera, that Ronald Boyette used as a mirror, to take stock of his life and what he wanted to do with it.

"On my business card it says, 'Keep it moving.'” "I'm going to move like I am a positive person and I'm going to go after what I need to go after in life to better my life."

By the way, Ronii's now got a home and a wife. In his spare time, he helps other veterans get the services they need. FOX 29's Bruce Gordon thanks our Lucy Noland. It was her chance meeting with Ronald that led to him to re-connecting with Ronii '

Click here to see FOX 29's Bruce Gordon's thoughts.
 

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