It’s been more than a year since robbers left 60-year-old Michael Parks with a fractured tibia. Despite still having a weak leg from the injury he suffered in the attack, he stands tall working at the front desk of the Broward Outreach Center.
On the night of Oct. 29, 2019, he had just cashed a check and was waiting for a bus that would take him to his home in Fort Lauderdale. While he was at the stop, two men rushed him from behind, threw him on the ground and took all of his cash.
“That was very traumatic for me,” said Parks. He said he was unable to feel safe for weeks afterward.
“I was very fearful in my bed, in the room,” Parks said. “And I was fearful for lights to be out because the accident happened at night.”
Though still healing both mentally and physically, he said he wants to help others by becoming a certified peer specialist — something he believes will help him on his own journey. To help him on that next step, he is looking for a Microsoft Surface Pro X. The model he’s looking for costs $1,000, and he needs another $277 to help pay for online classes.
Keith Cavanaugh, a supervisor at Broward Outreach, nominated Parks for Wish Book. He said that Parks becoming more computer literate, learning Microsoft Word and Excel, will open up numerous opportunities.
“We want to make sure we serve our people in the most holistic way possible,” said Cavanaugh.
(This story first appeared in the Miami Herald.)
The shelter has served the homeless and needy of South Florida since it was established in 1992. Because of the shelter, Parks said he was given the chance to create a better version of himself.
Following surgery necessitated by the attack, Parks was set to be discharged from Broward General Hospital, but he had nowhere to go. Cavanaugh made it a priority to provide Parks with a place to stay to recuperate, giving him the hope and strength he needed.