I met Morris at the Decatur Wine Festival where he was selling cigars. As he was packing up I approached him and asked to take his portrait. As I took the time to shoot from various angles Morris relaxed and began to tell me his story, which is one of personal triumph and love. Morris grew up in Waycross, Georgia along with seven brothers and seven sisters. His daddy was a sergeant and fought in three wars. He also sold moonshine on the side but was never busted because the county sheriff was his cousin. Combat look a toll on the sergeant’s mental health and Morris became the recipient of his father’s anger. When Morris graduated from high school he hightailed it out of town. He graduated at three in the afternoon and by six he was on a bus to join the army. Morris spoke with pride about two life-changing events. The first is that he is a recovering cocaine and alcohol addict. He checked himself into rehabilitation 14 years ago and has never looked back. His greatest source of pride though is that he has a daughter who adopted him as a father. When his housekeeper announced she was getting married, she asked him if he would walk her down the aisle. When he asked her, “Wouldn’t you rather have your step-father have that honor?,” she replied that he felt more like a father than anyone else. Aside from selling cigars, Morris is also going to school to become a drug and alcohol counselor. He wants to help others as a way to give back and because he understands the pain associated with being an addict.
On this Veterans Day, thank you Morris and all those who have served our country.