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Blinded by gunfire, Illinois man found his true calling in life

<i>WBBM</i><br/>Gun violence is changing the lives of many people across the country. For one man in the south suburbs
WBBM
Gun violence is changing the lives of many people across the country. For one man in the south suburbs

By Andrew Ramos

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    HARVEY, Illinois (WBBM) — Gun violence is changing the lives of many people across the country. For one man in the south suburbs, his near-death experience allowed him to find his purpose.

On most days, you can find Kevin Coachman sitting outside on his porch in Harvey; checking email or browsing his Facebook feed.

The 62-year-old is blind, and although he has his limitations, don’t underestimate what he’s capable of.

The victim of a horrific carjacking in April of 2016, Coachman was shot 6 times.

“I experienced two gunshot wounds to the head, and four to the body … that damaged my optic nerve, and eventually took all my eyesight away,” he said.

The life-altering injury would take him down, but not out.

“I had to learn how to blink, swallow, eat, walk. I chose not to be bitter, because I’m not gonna let no demonic spirit destroy my spirit,” he said.

With no shortage of obstacles on the road to recovery, Coachman forged ahead, finding purpose through his community; specifically, the homeless community, which he is now determined to lift up across the city of Chicago.

He organizes pop-up pantries, where he gives away everything from food to clothes and the bare essentials. Using social media to collect donations, he redirects all the goods to those in need.

“A lot of people that I know that’s homeless, they just want to feel like they belong again. It’s some brilliant people that live in these homeless shelters, because I believe everybody is one paycheck from homelessness,” he said.

What he once considered to be a setback is now serving as the foundation for what he hopes is a movement.

“I don’t have too much time left on this Earth, but I’m going to try to make a difference somewhere,” he said.

Coachman’s long-term goal now is to raise enough funds to open his own pantry, which would also serve as housing for those less fortunate.

To learn how you can help him meet this goal, you can email Chesed Homeless Prevention & Residential Center at Chesedhprc@gmail.com

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