Always Stay Positive!

Marine Corps Veteran, Wayman Guinn has always been into fitness. Born and raised in Chicago, he began gymnastics at a young age.  ^-LR0010576=

”Of course, no one did gymnastics back then, except little girls. But when people saw what I could do, they took notice. I hope maybe I helped pave the way for future gymnasts.”

He enlisted in 1969 while attending Western Michigan University but delayed basic until after he graduated. “I was a double major in English and physical education. I also got my teaching degree. I transferred to East Texas State University and paid for school by giving gymnastics lessons. “

He graduated in 1972 and left training for basic training shortly afterward. Being a gymnast helped me a lot with all the physical requirements. They sent me to Camp Pendleton for special all-weather drills and then to Ranger school at Fort Benning and I was at the top in all of it. One of my superiors asked me if I was part monkey”, he said laughing.

Mr. Guinn left the Marine Corps after twelve years and joined the FBI in Little Rock. “I had married a girl I met in East Texas, and we have two children who still live in this area.”

After the FBI, Mr. Guinn started his own carpet cleaning business and joined the Army Reserves. He had taken up cycling and continued to work out and stay active. “My wife never really liked to exercise or eat healthy. Given how important that was to me, we eventually drifted apart. It was hard when we divorced, but I tried to stay positive.”

Mr. Guinn moved back to Illinois to help out his parents and began subbing at the local school. “I learned all the kids’ names and something about them before I ever went in the classroom. I guess I impressed them because pretty soon I was subbing there regularly.”

But Texas called him back in 2000 and he moved to the Dallas area. He worked security and got more serious about cycling. “I became a time trial cyclist and even competed.” In 2019, he came back to Little Rock. “I knew that if I wanted to get to know my grandchildren, I had to come here. And it was time. I moved in with my son and his family. But when COVID hit, they were concerned that I might get sick and give it to the kids. So I moved out. I had Social Security and my military pension, but I wanted to work as well. I got a job at Drug Emporium, but I fell while riding and hurt my hip. I continued to work, but it wasn’t getting better. I needed surgery so I resigned. Once my doctor clears me I can go back, but that won’t be until December. I was struggling, I had even come to St. Francis House for food a few times. But I got to talking to a fellow Marine Veteran at church who had been here and he told me about the program. Now I’m here, I’m healing, I’m looking for housing and things are going well!”