Man credits nonprofit for his rise from homelessness to boss

A Connecticut man is crediting a nonprofit for helping him get back on his feet and eventually become a business owner.

Mark Sudol

Jun 30, 2022, 9:36 PM

Updated 734 days ago


A Milford man is crediting a nonprofit for helping him get back on his feet and eventually become a business owner. 
Rodney Rollins says he grew up in a well-to-do family, but an assault and weapons conviction sent his life into a downward spiral. 
In 2018, he was mugged in New York City, and was left with only 28 cents to his name.
That's when he went to Beth El Center in Milford.
"I arrived with 28 cents and a bag of clothes that I had gotten from the West Haven VA," said Rollins.
Rollins is an Army veteran who was down on his luck.  He was looking for any kind of a break.
Beth El Center, a nonprofit connecting people in need to housing and food, took him in.
He told them he was a truck driver, but his license expired. The center then gave him the money he needed.
"That single $128 is probably the best investment and certainly in me that I've ever gotten in my life," said Rollins. 
Rollins was eventually able to buy this new truck, thanks to the Department of Veterans Affairs and his work as a UPS driver.  He also got his Class A trucker's license.
"A combination of hard work and luck.  Buying equipment at just the right time," said Rollins.
Rollins' truck and his New England Desperado company now brings in about $500,000 a year.  Combined with his partially bank-owned assets in the business, he's now worth about $1 million.
"The only thing that limits a person's success in my mind is their own decisions," said Rollins.
"What he gives back is really telling his story and sharing that it is possible to overcome homelessness, to overcome food insecurity and to create the kind of life you want to see for yourself," said Jennifer Paradis with Beth El Center.
Rollins has now left all his troubles behind him.
"I couldn't have done any of this without these people," said Rollins.
Rollins is now on the board at Beth El Center and speaks to some of the people there about his inspiring story. 

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