Here you will find the long story regarding Anthony Luquan Gaines. Also known as Tony the T-Shirt Man
Tony Gaines aka Tony the t-shirt man was an urban American warrior with a finesse for the ladies and predisposed genetic appetite for the fun life. He was a modern-day Otis from the Andy Griffith show, the Andy Griffith show was a black and white television sitcom from the fifties, Otis was the beloved town drunk that jailed himself on the weekends and had a very cozy relationship with the two town officers. Similar in nature, although he didn’t let himself in and out of jail Tony the t-shirt man had a mutual respect for the officers he came in contact with. The community where he resided all knew him to be a harm to no one but himself. A warrior not by choice but by force, he was a white orphaned child that grew up in an all-black community. From the very beginning he had to fight because he was different. According to records 85% of kids that grow up in homes for orphaned kids are dead, in jail or pregnant by the age of 21. And in keeping up with the stats he was in and out of the system his entire life.
The good news is the community he grew up in considered him a part of their family, they respected, loved and cared for him. He was a brother, an uncle, a cousin and a very close reliable friend to many. Tony the T-shirt man was a simple common man without a family of his own, he was a passionate man that cared about others, shared his limited resources with others and gave his all to try to sustain his life and his kids. His passion for helping others that were less fortune was true throughout his forty-six years. Unfortunately, in the end he lost his life by way of a violent crime. His absence has left a silent void throughout several communities that needed to be filled.
We had to do something, he was a part of our community and a part of our lives and in a blink of an eye it was taken away. Soon we found that there were many just like him. Where do we go from here? Where’s the justice? Who attends the court dates? Who speaks on behalf of the common man without a family and what about his kids? What can we do to break the cycle? Well as you can imagine we had more questions then we had answers. After Tony the T-shirt mans untimely death, there was a check from the victims of violent crimes fund sent out.
What a horrible experience that was. Can you imagine receiving money because your loved one was murdered. That is an experience you never ever want to go through. You ask yourself what am I supposed to do with this money? We spoke to others in the community of how to make the best use of the money. We could cash it send the money to the kids or we could spend it on a marker where he is buried or we can give it back and that’s exactly what we did. A year after his death we used the victim of violent crime money to help create a community based nonprofit organization; Mending Wings Inc. whose mission is to support, advocate and promote self-sufficiency for all members of our community. From there came one of it’s key programs/events; Gaines Day which is a memorial celebration and awareness event. We bring together local nonprofits, businesses, law enforcement and victim of violent crimes plus leaders in the community. The first of its kind event to raise community awareness, combat senseless violence and to unite urban communities in a fun family friendly way. It is an annual event held on the third Saturday of August; It’s like 4th of July, Mardi Gras and Memorial Day all in one. It’s an event hosted by the community for the community. The story is much longer and vivid and I am sure you may have a story you want to share, please do so by contacting us. We would love the support and encourage feedback. Oh my gosh! not to mention VOLUNTEERS, we need plenty of volunteers and we can not do any of this with out your continued financial support.
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Contact us 707-437-6505 or email GainesDay at MendingWingsInc.org
Mending Wings Inc. | Post Office Box 294 | Fairfield, Ca 94533
Mending Wings, Inc. is a 501(c)3 community based non-profit organization,
a support engine for the nonprofit community.
Our mission is to support, advocate and promote self-sufficiency for all members of our community.
The goal is to enhance and build ongoing relationships through volunteerism between local nonprofits and businesses in their communities to strengthen the sustainability of the nonprofit sector.