While unemployment rates continue to rise and homes are going into foreclosure one Wilmington resident is overcoming the odds.
Many people may see 102 Montgomery Avenue as just a house. For Michael Lunsford it is so much more. “This house means a lot to me. This house means so much to me in ways you couldn’t possibly imagine. My children have a place to stay, they can look up to their dad, it’s like their own little superhero,” said Lunsford.
Just a few months ago Lunsford and his family lived at Good Shepherd Ministries, a Wilmington homeless shelter, but the experience did not discourage him. “Actually, it was a good bonding time for us. We got to know each other a little better,” Lunsford said.
While there, Lunsford spent his days searching for his dream job as a chef. His persistence paid off. Eventually he was hired at Hieronymus Restaurant.
“What put him over the top the most was the fact that he was so persistent. He just came by everyday,” described Hieronymus Restaurant owner, Skip James.
Lunsford earned enough money to buy a car and is now works three jobs; two as a chef and one as a security guard. He then saved enough to move his family out of the shelter and into their new home. “You have to be patient, you have to be persistent, and you have to be positive,” added Lunsford.
Lunsford said his father showed him the importance of a strong work ethic. “He worked two jobs himself, endlessly, and took care of ten of us.”
When he was younger, his grandparents owned two restaurants and taught Lunsford the skills he now uses in the kitchen, but he said it’s just the beginning. “I’m trying to get a cooking show for Food Network. Cooking with Michael on the Coast,” said Lunsford.
For now he said he is happy the hard work paid off. “I didn’t want luxuries in life, gold and diamonds, fancy cars stuff like that. I just wanted to live.”
Lunsford said the best luxuries are those money can’t buy. His sons said they can not wait for their dad to cook at his own stove. His eldest son, Anthony, said he would like to follow in his father’s footsteps as a chef.