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Kedric Fornerette

At the age of 41, Kedric Fornerette decided that his life needed an abrupt change. After battling addiction and poverty in his native Mississippi, the Navy veteran took a leap of faith, seeking opportunity and hope in Houston.

After high school, Kedric enlisted in the Navy, but found his career cut short when he was honorably discharged due to health problems.

“The decision to leave the military was out of my hands – I had to return home to Mississippi,” said Kedric. “I was just living from [a] pile of clothes and not caring [about much] anymore. I just wanted to make enough money get me what I needed.”

Kedric cut hair as a hobby and decided to attend a Barber Trade School with the hope of making that into a career. Unfortunately his earnings as a mobile barber weren’t substantial enough to pay his bills and he was unable to pay for his barber license renewal.

In the years that followed, Kedric worked odd jobs and bounced from city to city in the South trying to find work and earn a livable wage. One thing became constant, though – the substances he used as coping mechanisms started to interfere with his daily routine.

“[My addiction] became a habit, I [went] through everyday life as normal,” said Kedric. “No one else knew about it because I hid it well, but I was in denial.”

After a life-altering run-in with the wrong crowd, Kedric had an epiphany: he could either continue down the dark road of drug and alcohol abuse or he could clean himself up start a new life away from it all.

“God showed me death – what my future would be if I would stay in that situation,” said Kedric. “The life that I lived in Mississippi was a dead man’s journey.”

By August 2016, Kedric uprooted himself and began hitchhiking from his hometown in Mississippi all the way Houston. Kedric frequented the city before his move and believed that this was the city of opportunity. While he didn’t know many people in Houston, Kedric used social media to find shelter during his stay.

“I was on side of [the road] with my luggage waiting for God to give me an answer,” said Kedric.

In his search for housing, Kedric came across a radio advertisement for the Open Door Mission. 

After a few months, Kedric settled in to Open Door Mission’s treatment program and the resident director of the shelter gave Kedric a flyer for SER, where he could get job training and employment assistance. Despite limited means of transportation and money, Kedric found his way to the SER office the very next morning.

With the help of his SER career coach, Kedric enrolled in the January 2017 AVANCE/Warehouse Forklift class.

“He was really dedicated,” said Jose Diaz, Kedric’s Career Coach. “He showed up on time, stood by his commitments, and had perfect attendance throughout the course.”

Kedric gained soft skills, effective communication skills, and conflict resolution skills in addition to earning an OSHA credential for his Warehouse/Forklift training.

“I felt [great] about getting into the program,” said Kedric. “If I would have never pursued the Warehouse Forklift class, I would not be [alive] today.”

Upon completion of the course, SER’s partner, ProStaff, helped place Kedric with his current company – Gulf Marine Industries. In the three months Kedric has been there, he has had already promoted from a Warehouse Loader to a Supply Technician and sees great things in his future.

After seven months as a drug-free resident at Open Door Mission, Kedric is now able to move off-campus. He is looking forward to advancing in his current position, furthering his education in writing, potentially owning his own company, and growing a family.