As the Inquisitr previously reported, two police officers recently discovered Fred Barley, a homeless teen sleeping on his school’s campus so that he could continue his classes.
After he was found last weekend, Barley’s story began to unfold. The teen rode his younger brother’s bike more than six hours from home in Conyers, Georgia to Gordon State College in Barnesville so that he could register for his second semester. The 19-year-old, a biology major, brought two duffel bags and two gallons of water on his journey.
He slept on campus in a tent at nights, planning to stay there until he could move into the dorms later this summer, and looked for jobs during the days.
Officer Richard Carreker and the second officer, after hearing the homeless teen’s story, paid for Barley to stay in a motel room instead of giving him a ticket for trespassing on the college campus.
“He was so understanding and he said, ‘I definitely applaud you for doing this,” Fred Barley told WSB-TV, referring to Officer Carreker. “We can’t allow you to stay here, but I have somewhere you can stay. The stuff that’s happening with police officers, I am black and he didn’t care what color I was. He just helped me, and that meant a lot.”
ABC6 reports that his story has reached thousands of people who have been inspired to help Fred Barley on the rest of his journey. Many have donated clothing, shoes, school supplies, and a new bicycle to the formerly-homeless teen, and Debbie Adamson has offered him a job at her local pizza shop, DB’s Pizzeria, as well.
“I created a position for him before he walked in my door. I didn’t know his name. I didn’t know the color of his skin. I didn’t care. I’ve been there so I guess I had a soft spot for anyone who is that determined to succeed in life,” Adamson said.
Casey Blaney, a stranger and resident of Barnesville touched by Barley’s story, created a GoFundMe page for Fred Barley, “Success For Fred.” Blaney’s goal was to raise $150,000 to help Barley continue his education and achieve his dream of attending medical school.
Within five days, the GoFundMe page raised $184,000, and donors flooded the page with messages of support and love.
“Work hard to become a doctor because we need more doctors!” one donor wrote on the page.
“Go, Fred. And thank you to everyone who stepped up,” another wrote.
“Good luck my man and please try to keep us posted. College will be challenging but you have proven no challenge is to big. Love u man and all who gave us this wonderful moment. Thank you,” yet another wrote.
Blaney posted a message thanking the nearly 2,000 individual donors, anonymous and not. She has also created a Facebook group where supporters (more than 42,000 strong currently) can keep updated on Barley’s story and send cards or letters to a P.O. Box listed there.
“Thanks for taking the time to join together as community and help a very determined young man fulfill his dream of finishing college and to have a place to call home. So many have asked how they can help and what they can do, that I decided to start this page to make his ‘needs’ list available to all. Thanks again for caring.”
Fred Barley, once a homeless teen striving for a better life, now has the support of people he’s never even met.
“I was shocked by how much support people will give from Lamar County and counties all over and even people from across the country that I’ve never met just wanted to help so much in my life. I was just so shocked and grateful,” Barley said.
With all the sadness in the world right now, it’s great to see someone like Fred Barley be given the chance at a life that he deserves.
[Image via Shutterstock]