BARNESVILLE, Ga. - A community came together in a big way for a homeless teen after a Georgia police officer discovered the 19-year-old sleeping in a tent at Gordon State College.
Fred Barley, a biology major, biked six hours to register for his second semester and look for a job. He had nothing, so he was staying inside a tent on the Barnesville campus. That was until police found him.
“We get to talking with him asking where he’s from and he tells us the story about the bike ride from Conyers. I’m like 'man this is crazy,'” Officer Richard Carreker told News Radio 106.7's Chrisy Hutchings.
Officer Carreker believed him and he, along with another officer, put Fred in a hotel room.
“He was deeply thankful he wasn’t going to sleep in that tent,” said Carreker.
Word of Fred’s situation traveled quickly through town. Casey Blaney and her son Cole went to Fred's hotel room.
“We asked him what he wanted and what we could do for him and he just said ‘I really don’t want anything.’ After we kept asking, he said ‘A job,’” said Blaney.
Across town, over at DB’s Pizzeria, owner Debra Adamson was also hearing about Barley’s story.
“She hired me on the spot. She didn't even know my first or last name,” Barley told FOX 5, fighting back the laughter of sheer joy.
He’s now working and enrolled in classes last Friday. This week, Blaney told FOX 5 he moved into his dorm.
“I can take it out there and sleep in a tent without a job or I can come down here and do something and apply my life and make something better for it,” Barley said.
Casey Blaney said she is overwhelmed by the number of people wanting to help Barley. She set up a Facebook Page called Success for Fred for those who wished to help. On Sunday, she announced they are no longer accepting donations because all of his financial needs have been met.
"The final love gifts for Fred totaled $184,266," Blaney said on Facebook. "What a wonderful Nation/World of people we have."
If you would like to send an encouraging letter or card, Blaney has provided the following address: