“A successful man is one that can build a foundation with the bricks others throw at him.” Radford University student Jordan Addison says this quote has been his inspiration for years and that was evident Monday afternoon as he thanked the crowd of friends, family and fellow students who had gathered to watch his appearance on the season premiere of the Ellen DeGeneres show.
While on the show that was taped last week, Addison was presented with a $25,000 check from Cover Girl. The gift was a surprise. His plans for the money include sending his aunt and uncle on a well-deserved vacation. Ronald and Rachel Fowler of Max Meadows came out of retirement in order to help support Addison and his dream of attending college. They are both electricians and work for Varney Electric. Rachel said, “We are so proud of Jordan and everything he has done with his life.”
Addison’s story gained national attention when a Roanoke auto shop repaired his car free of charge after it had been vandalized four times. Addison thought the shop was going to just remove the homophobic slurs, but was shocked when he found the car had a new paint job, new stereo, wheels and security system.
Richard Henegar, Jr., manager of Quality Auto Paint and Body in Roanoke, said “I knew that the least I could do was fix the damage, but I’m the kind of guy who takes things and runs with it so I started making some phone calls.” Henegar had no trouble finding businesses willing to help with the project.
Addison asked how he could make this up to everyone who donated and the response he received was “Pay it forward.” And he is certainly doing that. As a member of Alpha Phi Omega (APO), Addison is already involved in community service work. There are 32 members in the RU chapter and they perform close to 900 hours of community service work each semester. He plans to use part of his prize money to send two APO members to the National Conference in San Diego this November.
Addison is overwhelmed by the community response. “The Radford University police have been wonderful to work with and when I reported the incident that happened on campus, they increased patrols in my neighborhood and immediately let me switch parking lots.”
The Radford University Police Department would not comment since the investigation is ongoing.
P.R. Sturgill Fine Jewelry of Radford has provided Addison with a secure place to park his car, free of charge, for the duration of his studies at Radford.
Several anonymous donations have been sent Addison’s way. He received a $100 check from a couple in San Diego and was surprised to find in his mailbox a note with no return address that told him to check his government loan account. When he did, he discovered that $1,000 had been applied to his student loans. Addison has now received a total of $11,000 anonymously applied to his loans.
While visiting a local restaurant, one of the waiters came up to him and said “Please do not think that all of Radford is this way, because we are not.”
Sadie Morgan, an RU sophomore, attended the watch party and commented, “I am disappointed that this happened at my college but I am so happy that he got help.”
Jessica Anderson, a sophomore at RU, was very emotional as she said, “This should never have happened. As a supporter of gay rights, this breaks my heart. I am really happy for Jordan and believe that no one is as deserving of this as he is.”
Addison is excited about giving back to the community that has supported him through this incident. He referenced another quote that he follows. “You make a living by what you earn and a life by what you give.”