According to Barnsville.com, Officers responded to a call on July 9 concerning a pitched tent near a Gordon State College parking area not knowing this call would once again be one to bring Barnesville’s community together and deem the city as one of compassion.
Gordon police officer Dicky Carreker and Barnesville police officer Maria Gebelein approached the camp set up near the Gordon parking area off of Holmes street Saturday evening cautiously asking the tent’s occupant to come out with his hands visible. When the occupant emerged he presented his Gordon I.D. card and after speaking with the young man, the officers became aware of his humility and determined him to be a driven student who had nothing and who was dedicated to his education and to finding a job.
Homeless, 19-year-old Fredrick Barley rode six hours on a 20” bicycle from Conyers to Gordon’s campus with nothing but a duffle bag, a tent, a box of cereal and two gallons of water. Barley indicated that he wanted to be sure he made it to town in time for school with enough time to find a job.
He had spent three days camping in his tent before the officers found him. When he was not at his camp, Barley was riding around town on his bike searching for a job and filling out applications.
“After meeting Fred, I could tell he was a good kid,” Carreker stated. “He was a young kid who had been dealt a bad hand and was trying to make the best out of it. All he wanted was a job.”
Inspired by Barley’s determination, officers Carreker and Geblein gave him the money they had in their wallets and took him to the Sun Inn motel where they each paid for a night’s stay.
“Fred told us this would be his second semester at Gordon as a Biology major and we could tell he was serious about his education,” Geblein indicated. “We helped him because we felt it was the right thing to do.”
Soon after Carreker posted the story on Facebook about Barley and his situation, members of Barnesville’s community banded together eager to help and have since bought him gift cards, food and clothing. He even received a new men’s mountain bike and has a couple community members working together to get him a car.
“I was not expecting any of this support and am in awe of how this community has come together to help me,” Barley stated. “I was just trying to go to school, find a job and make it on my own. Now it seems as though I am part of a new community and have a new family.”
Barley has gotten an influx of support from the community and even has a new job at DB’s Pizzeria where Debbie Adamson recognized his genuine heart and hired him before she even knew his name.
Casey Blaney and Amber Shoemake are among those who have been working hard to help get Barley settled. Blaney has put together a Facebook group called ‘Success For Fred’ where anyone who is interested in helping can find out what donations are needed for Fred’s success, and Shomake has put together an Amazon.com wish list in his name.
“It’s just beautiful how our community has come together to help someone in need,” Carreker concluded. “Barnesville is the epitome of a small town with a big heart.”