Amarillo man hopes story of overcoming homelessness and mental illness inspires others

Amarillo man hopes story of overcoming homelessness and mental illness inspires others

AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - One Amarillo man is drawing from his experience of being homeless to help others who are going through the same situation.

“I’ve always had depression, but nothing really triggered it until I got a divorce,” said Terry Farrar, who is the shelter manager at the Salvation Army of Amarillo. “That really triggered it, so I really isolated myself inside the house. I didn’t come out to see anybody, so it was like...it was bad.”

Depression and anxiety led Terry Farrar to leave his home in Perryton and move to Amarillo last May.

He was homeless, and his mental illness wasn’t getting any better.

“They sometimes have problems with activities of daily living, like cooking and cleaning and paying bills, interactions with the public," said Heather Neeley, a homeless case manager with Texas Panhandle Centers.

A former homeless man has turned his life around for the better and hopes to inspire others to do the same. (Source: KFDA)
A former homeless man has turned his life around for the better and hopes to inspire others to do the same. (Source: KFDA)

He soon began staying at the Salvation Army and became a member of The Parc.

While seeking help from Texas Panhandle Centers and taking medication, he also began to volunteer at the shelter and The Parc.

“I didn’t want the depression to overcome me,” said Farrar. “So I kept my mind busy all the time doing something else besides just sitting around or doing nothing all day long. I just kept busy to help myself.”

Farrar decided to help others who have helped him.

Earlier this year, the Salvation Army hired him as a shelter monitor before promoting him to a shelter manager.

“When he came back to tell us that he had gotten the job as the manager at the Salvation Army, the whole room exploded,” said Valerie Gooch, the executive director of The Parc. “We were so happy for him.”

Farrar said his favorite part of the job has been helping people whose shoes he’s walked in.

“Every one of them is unique,” he said. “There’s no one really the same. So when you find somebody and talk to them, you hear their story, as well. And then I can tell my story to them. I got to see the other side of what people really don’t want to see and acknowledge. And then I’ve met some really great people.”

Next month, the public will have the chance to walk in Terry’s shoes with The Parc’s Sole4Soul event.

A former homeless man has turned his life around for the better and hopes to inspire others to do the same. (Source: KFDA)
A former homeless man has turned his life around for the better and hopes to inspire others to do the same. (Source: KFDA)

The route Farrar walked to keep his mind busy, as well as the routes of many other Parc members, will be options for participants to walk.

“Each route is named after one of our members, and we are going to those other agencies, those other places in our city that help those that are homeless,” said Gooch.

Farrar says he was surprised when he found out that a route would be named after him. He says that he doesn’t think he would be here without The Parc.

“He shared with us later, we didn’t know, but he said that he was suicidal, and that he thought about it every day,” said Gooch. “And he said as he kept coming to The Parc, every day those thoughts became less and less. He began to very proactively work on his health, his emotional health and his physical health, and it was really fun to watch him progress.”

Farrar says everyone’s walk is different, and it will take time, but it’s possible for anyone to turn their life around for the better.

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