Edward Seitz poses in front of the Roswell Adult Center, the place where he was shown love and compassion when he needed it the most. Chaunte’l Powell Photo
Edward Seitz has always loved working with his hands. Since the age of 13, he’s worked in landscaping, construction and even the mortuary business. He said he’s relied on his hands to help him make a living his entire life. Seitz has also relied on those hands to help him rebuild his life after losing everything.
In 2002 Seitz’s mother moved to Roswell to care for her sick sister, and was later diagnosed with two types of cancer. Upon hearing the news of his mother’s ailments, Seitz immediately quit his job in Kansas and moved to Roswell, as his mother requested. He took care of her until her passing in 2011, just two years after he lost his wife.
After his mother passed, he said that his world collapsed. His mother and aunt had purchased the house they were all living in and with a broken arm and no form of steady income, Seitz eventually lost the house and ended up on the streets. Following those incidents, Seitz sank into a state of depression and said he tried to cope with destructive remedies such as alcohol. It was to the point where he said he just wanted to end it all.
Right when he needed a helping hand most, he found his way to the Roswell Adult Center. He stumbled upon the center one day while riding his bicycle around the area, and decided to check it out. Seitz said he went in search of people to call family and friends and to fill the void left by his deceased relatives. He found exactly what he was looking for and recalls being welcomed with open arms from Day 1.
“They always welcome you in and they’re friendly,” he said. “They just invited me in to be family. So this has been my home base since I lost my mother last year.”
The warm, inviting atmosphere was just what he needed and he said he began going back to just hang out and play pool. Today he still visits the center regularly to play games or just have a cup of coffee and chat about the “good old days” with other members.
Renewed faith also played a large role in the rebuilding process. His trust in God helped get him out of the dark state he was in and onto the path leading to his bright future.
“I was ready to take my life,” he said. “So I just started praying to God for a way and something in my mind hit that they will come.”
During the time of those prayers, he began going to St. Peter Catholic Church to receive meals at the soup kitchen, using the car left by his mother. Seitz recalls one particular Friday when the car ran out of gas after he arrived at the kitchen. He met a youth pastor from Assemblies of God Church, who asked if he and the nine youths who were with him could pray for Seitz. Desperate and in need of help, Seitz eagerly responded, “Sure, I could use a lot of that,” and because of that encounter, he attended their church that Sunday. Seitz said he’s now a member and has even been baptized since that meeting.
Seitz is now able to surround himself with caring people, something he’s been used to since childhood. Originally from a little town 30 miles south of St. Louis, he describes his hometown of Barnhart as a good family environment. He recalls having many of his family members around until he was 8, then his father, a television electrician, moved the family to southern California.
Part of what’s helped him get through tough times is his can-do attitude and willingness to work. He describes himself as an “energetic, variety type of person,” and said he’s always loved hard work. That’s reflected in his resume which includes a plethora of labor-intensive jobs. He said any profession that allows him to work with his hands suits him just fine and he currently offers to do handy work around the Adult Center as needed.
He’s now enrolled in a government program through Goodwill Industries, where he receives job training. He completed his first day on the job as a desk worker at the Adult Center, Tuesday.
Now back on his feet, Seitz says his new mission is to use his hands to help those who need it.
“I enjoy helping people and being with people,” he said. “I volunteer here for several elderly people … I just like to volunteer and help out any way I can. It used to be that I’d shut off from people for a while. Now I realize I love returning the love I’ve received back to the people who showed it to me.”
He added that the love shown to him has helped him grow and learn more about himself and he plans to pay it forward as best he can.