Gerry is a Regeneration guest who moved out east in the middle of the summer, then returned for the winter to work.
Gerry has always been a quieter guest, but very kind-hearted, always around to help out when needed.
Gerry started opening up about his life. He comes from a well off family, who own a steel company. At one point was co-owner, until he was hit by a car and became addicted to pain medication. He has since conquered that addiction and is free of methadone on his own accord, but still struggles daily
Gerry told us that even though he was a part of a family business, he worked for everything he had. When he heard that his dad was starting the steel company, he put together a resume, and gave it to him. He interviewed, and started a low-level job at minimum wage. He worked his way up from there.
He hadn’t spoken with his dad in 2 years, but still sees him mom from time to time.
During the period where he and his father weren’t speaking, he stayed at a youth shelter in Orangeville, called “Out of the Cold”. He was the first youth to stay there and was his home for 2 years.
During his stay, he met a boy by the name of Robbie. Robbie was only 15 years old, and admitted by his mother who was “trying to teach him a lesson”. The shelter agreed to keep him for the night, with the understanding that he would be returning home the next night. Gerry meet him only once, but described him as a big teddy bear, with a happy and calm demeanor.
Sadly, Robbie was murdered that night by another shelter resident: but it was supposed to be Gerry. They know this because a letter detailing the murder was found in the shelter.
Gerry said that the community blamed the death of Robbie on the shelter, which was inevitably shut down. It was a sad time: all the residents all went to the funeral, where Robbie’s mom spoke. She made it very clear that it wasn’t the shelter’s fault, and she was grateful they were there for her son when he needed it. After the funeral, Gerry spoke to Robbie’s mom and said, “Your son died for me, it should have been me. I will do my best to be a good person, and make it worth it”. He remembers her hugging him, with a big smile on her face.
He often speaks about the importance of youth shelters.
Before he left Regeneration to go back east, he said to us, “ I just wanted to let you know that Regeneration really helps people. You helped me. I am going back east and I have plans there that I am not giving up on, thanks to you”