Roy Lee Brown’s uncle knew his nephew was special the day he was born. He named him after movie star and King of the Cowboys Roy Rogers. “He called me that. It was the 1950’s, back in the Western times,” says Roy. These days, Roy takes center stage as rock star security guard at Tricounty Family Ministries with his signature smile, towering height, and booming voice. He has a way of making sure everyone is safe and feels safe. But, Roy’s life wasn’t always safe or happy.
The Walterboro, SC-native served proudly as a Ranger in Special Forces in Vietnam from 1973 through 1977. He was a gunner and operated an M-60 machine gun from a helicopter and participated in heavy combat duty. He returned home to his wife and family. After his beloved wife of 33-years died from cancer in September, 2009, he was heart-broken and depressed. Roy’s light faded and he fell into a dark mental and financial place. “I got a lot of money following her death, and I didn’t use it right. I gave a lot of it away and mismanaged and misused it. I didn’t have to become homeless, but I chose to. I didn’t want to lean on my family.”
Roy ended up in Charleston homeless in 2017 and at the door of One-Eighty Place, downtown. “I was in a depression, broke, and had lost everything. I started just walking and riding a bicycle and God talked to me and gave me a number to call and I found a place there. They gave me six months to get my act together but I was done in two. Fortunately, I had no addiction issues to deal with and was able to find a job and eventually, an apartment.”
With the help of Goodwill, Roy found placement at working in a kitchen, at the Charleston County Detention Center, and doing temp work at Tricounty Family Ministries. The temp job turned permanent once he proved how good he was at his job. “I love what I do. I get to talk and hear people’s problems. I always remind them where I came from and they can’t believe it. It gives them hope. It’s all in the person. The only way you sit down, is if you sit yourself down.” Roy’s not only standing, but he’s dancing, too. The Hokey Pokey and Slide Dancing are his specialties.