Perry Foster, San Francisco, Ed Lee discussed on Morning Edition


With one man story met perry foster in february twenty sixteen while reporting san francisco mayor ed lee's decision to clear tents from division street the worst thing about being out here seen people fall apart see people succumb zan people break but he said the street was not going to bring it down just a momentary blip is something that had to go through to have a voice i definitely speaking loudly about this this predicament how i came through we'll get through the perry did not get through this spring after nearly a decade of living homeless he overdosed and died he was forty eight years old he had told me he had family in grand rapids michigan after his death i started hearing from people who knew him he was an outstanding football player that's jim galvin who coach perry at grand rapids catholic central in nineteen eighty six and eighty seven jim pasco quarterback those teams had very very special gifts both physically and to connect with with other people perry had been a nearly unstoppable running back in his senior year he led catholic central to a state championship perry went on to eastern michigan university and starred there for two years but he failed academically he vanished from football and from the lives of his old teammates droves just done by the time he was doing stuff they shouldn't have been doing because he wasn't acting right anymore perry's father robert foster still lives in grand rapids the former tool and die maker who trained as a christian pastor says his son became hard to reach very you know you gotta you know god gave you talent you need to use that in the right way to get where you want to go you know i made these legs i did this i who let me step back from you for your medical lightning gonna strike in a minute after perry came out as gay lead to a further breach with his father he left michigan and stops in atlanta chicago san diego and other cities followed in two thousand eight perry arrived in san francisco over the next decade he was shot arrested several times jailed stabbed in hospitalized repeatedly he eventually started living in a tent but the charisma his high school teammates remember it was still intact mariah master got to know perry during the two years she worked on the san francisco oh homeless outreach team didn't really catch some sorta elegance tim self and he really he didn't allow things to get dictated to him and how how he should be looking at how he should be treated but she says perry had a lot of health problems and it was hard sometimes to get him to take care of himself last september perry posted pictures on facebook after he'd been dragged from his ted in beaten family members pleaded with him to come home to come back to grand rapids what had those days been like for him i tracked down one friend who goes by the name memphis who got to know perry when they both lived in tents on division street was was perry afraid on the streets was he afraid what was going to happen out here you know it's still suv out here as long as you want and you still there there's always something that would be fair it can happen that is he says perry had made plans to return to michigan i told them to go home months ago he's a he needs to do something here i go some thanks for us then what was that thing robert foster says his son talked about trying to help others living on the street period the best way you can help anybody is get show how to get out by you getting out and doing better they ain't going back and helping people robert foster learned april eleventh that perry died of a heroin overdose perry's remains were returned to michigan and in late april his family and his football family held a memorial mariah master said she found some comfort in that i'm really happy to know that somebody else looks perry.

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