The path from Dayton, Ohio to the Bartell Drugs in Ballard had more than a few twists and turns for Terry Cunningham, our vendor of the week.
After high school, Cunningham joined the Air Force. He was trained as a civil engineer and stationed in the San Francisco Bay Area. Four years and one honorable discharge later, though, Terry found himself without work in one of the country’s most expensive places to live.
“But I liked the West Coast—it’s laid back,” said Cunningham. So he moved to Oregon, a place that still had that ineffable “California feel” minus the astronomical cost-of-living. Following a divorce in Oregon, Terry moved to Washington state 15 years ago.
Finding work in Washington has been tough, though—and, recently, he was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer.
“Cancer’s a double-edged sword like that,” said Cunningham. The costs of health care for cancer patients make it difficult for employers to insure them.
Universal health care, anyone?
So, Cunningham has been selling Real Change, and became a top vendor. And, even in the face of hardship, Terry stays positive—he is always amazed at the generosity, compassion, and friendship he finds in his customers.
“Real Change works,” said Terry, “it helps the homeless not just monetarily, but also because it makes the community more aware of [housing issues] and unemployment.”