LANSING, Mich. — Executive director of Ele’s Place, Kristine Kuhnert, meets a lot of people, but Michael Flory stands out.
“Every single time I talk to him, I find out he's helping someone else, and I think that is exactly why he should be a Good Neighbor. He builds a community, and I think that's what we desperately need in this world,” Kuhnert said.
Flory says he gives back because he has been given so much, which is incredible if you know his story.
When Flory was 10, his grandfather came to his family’s Father’s Day celebration and shot and killed both of his parents.
Flory, his grandmother and his two sisters were hospitalized with gunshot wounds. Flory says that was difficult to get over.
“I have early memories of just crying and sobbing probably from 10 to 14, night after night, all alone," Flory said. "Loneliness, despair, calling out 'is there a God, is there? Is there somebody that can help me right with this deep despair and sorrow?'”
Flory says when he was 14, his despair became so bad he wanted to take his own life. At 15, he was admitted to a mental hospital. At 20, he was going to try to kill himself again.
Flory says he called his sister-in-law, and they prayed over the phone.
“There's a team aspect that played a part and helped me at least have a chance," he said. "Ultimately, I had to make the decision to press through the pain and the sorrow and the grief.”
Now, Flory is co-owner of Custom-Built Design and Remodeling. His team recently finished renovating the library at Ele’s Place.
Kuhnert says it isn’t lost on her that Flory is giving back to a place that’s mission is all about working through grief.
“People often ask me how you could work here. How couldn’t I work here? I meet the best people,” she said.
Kuhnert says even though people are grieving, they still have something to give back, and Flory agrees.
“I think every human being should have an opportunity to experience who they were created to be. And I just happen to be fortunate that I didn't give up,” he said.
Flory says he has advice for people who are going through trauma.
“You were created to experience more than just the sorrow or the grief, you are, and you will if you don't quit. Just focus on the next you know, hour for the next 24 hours. You will be there will be a rescue or that will come for you. And I don't know who that will be or what it will be, but I can tell you every time I got to the end, and I wanted to get the gun or, you know, hang myself, like I there was something that would come a moment of a little bit of joy, a little bit of spark of something," said Flory. "And so, you have that you are created for something more than to end your life, and beyond that, there's so many people that are going to benefit if you hold on to your story is going to impact your community.”
We agree and want to thank Michael Flory for sharing his story and inspiring others. He is this week’s Good Neighbor.
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