COMMITTED TO CARING
On October 27, 2015- 64 year old Mr. Randy Young joined the Decatur Pruitt family after suffering a stroke.
He was born and raised in Jefferson Ga. with his mother, father, seven sisters and his six brothers. He acquired his love and talent for music from his parents. They both sang and played the guitar. Music was always in his home. While all of his siblings sang, he was the only child who sang and played the guitar.
At the age of six years old Mr. Young picked up his father’s guitar and never put it down. Once his mother recognized that he had a talent and a passion for the guitar, she began teaching him how to play it. He proved himself to be a quality player at a very early age.
Mr. Young never attended school. He had to work with his father and his siblings. He never learned to read or write, but regardless of his shortcomings, he learned to play the guitar as well as anyone who knew how to read music. He knew this was his gift from God. When he played his guitar and sang his songs, all was right with the world.
At the age of 15 years old he could no longer take any more of his father’s overbearing behavior, so he left home and eventually found himself in Atlanta Ga. He grew up hard and fast, but he found his way. He worked as a truck driver during the week, and entertained with his music on the weekends. He played in Mid Town, Little Five Points, Grant Park, churches, family reunions, parties, anywhere there were lovers of music.
Mr. Young’s choice of music was the Blues. He used the Blues to tell his story. He would get lost in the music by Muddy Waters, Lightening Slim, Johnny Hooker, BB King and others. He entertained in clubs like ‘The Hole in the Wall, Do Drop In, Blind Willie’, and other clubs in Clayton County.
He met his wife twenty years ago while he was performing in a club. She asked him “Do you know how to play ‘Drop that Zero and Get Yourself a Hero’?” He replied “No, but if you can sing it, I can play it,” and they have been making music and entertaining together ever since.
Times changed and Mr. Young “fell on hard times”, he began to experience health issues. He suffered two Strokes. He was admitted to the hospital and later transferred to Pruitt Decatur for Rehabilitation services, and for management of his disease process. The Stroke affected the fingers on his left hand and he could no longer play “Tiger.” Tiger was the name he gave to his guitar, but that did not stop him from singing. Due to his inability to play, Mr. Young stopped getting gigs, and fell into further debt, which led to depression. Mr. Young had no choice, but to pawn Tiger, just to survive another day in the tough streets.
During his Rehabilitation Evaluation, the first thing he said was “I can’t play my guitar anymore, look at my fingers”. The stroke left his fingers weak, with tremors and decreased flexibility. But Mr. Young was determined to get better, and determined to play again. With months of vigorous rehab training, Mr. Young was able to use his fingers again, and therefore was able to play a guitar again. Knowing that he could play the guitar again brought tears to his eyes and joy to his heart.
Mr. Randy Young’s dream was to give a concert with backup singers and to give that concert to the residents of Pruitt Health Decatur.
Due to unavoidable life circumstances, Mr. Young was not able to realize his dream of performing in concert in the front of hundreds of people, while they cheered, and enjoyed his music.
The Decatur staff set the stage, lined up his five backup singers, (other residents in the facility), provided his backup singers with beautiful customs, to match Mr. Young’s. The Poplar Spring Baptist Church Trio provided back up singing, and a keyboard player provided the back up music. A guitar and amplifying equipment was purchased. One of the staff members recorded the affair, and an Audio Producer edited the recording.
On March 24, 2016 his dream came true. He played the guitar and sang to a full house of well entertained residents, visitor and staff members. He was awesome. There was not a dry eye in the house. The applause he received was full of admiration, happiness and hope for him. Mr. Young beamed with pride, he is a different man now, and wants to entertain the facility as often as possible.
Making Mr. Young’s dream come true was such a wonderful and warm experience for the staff and residents to participate in. Truly that day was not only special for him, but it was special for us all.