People of Alabama: John Vereen of Fultondale

People of Alabama: John Vereen of Fultondale
John Vereen of Fultondale lives by the guideline of 'always lead with love.' (Tamika Moore / People of Alabama)

“This is what guides me through my life – always lead with love. Let love lead in everything that you do, even your anger. When you are in the dark and things are not going well, find gratitude in the moment. Find something you used to be thankful about and take it from there. If you can anchor your mindset in something that you want out of the moment, then that’s what you want to do. For me, I want to lead with love in everything that I do – whether I get pulled over, my kids get on my nerves, or someone spits in my face. I’m not perfect, but at the end of the day, I want to sow into existence what I want to get out of my existence. To conjure something outside of love, dignity or respect is not how we optimize our humanity.” – John Vereen of Fultondale.

Watching his son deal with autism has helped John Vereen with his own view of life and the world around him. (Tamika Moore / People of Alabama)

Vereen says that his children taught him to lead with love as well, especially his son, Caleb, who has nonverbal autism.

“He taught me about being out in public and people staring at us. We’re entitled to our existence as well. Leading with love is very important. He taught me that. He’s the number one guy to teaching me life lessons – incremental progress, not giving up and just continuing to work. I quit my job in the beginning of 2020 because my son didn’t have any quality of life. Now, he’s riding scooters, dressing himself. The things he can do now and the decisions and initiative that he takes bring him joy. I’m really thankful for that.”

Vereen’s home suffered extensive damage from the tornado that hit Fultondale nearly a year ago and the family hopes to move back soon when the restoration is complete.

These are the faces and stories of people from all walks of life who call Alabama home. People of Alabama is a Red Clay Media and Alabama NewsCenter partnership.

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