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Effingham County student assists homeless man
Keosha Rivers presents a tent, clothing and a backpack filled with hygiene items to Lenorris Pinckney at her home near Clyo on Thursday. - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff
I just wanted to make him more comfortable. I feel like we should give back."
Keosha Rivers

CLYO — Effingham County High School student Keosha Rivers didn't ignore the relentless tugging at her heartstrings. She responded with compassion and concern.

On Thursday at her home, Rivers gave 61-year-old Lenorris Pinckney a tent, food, clothes and a backpack filled with hygiene products. Pinckney has been living on the streets of Springfield for more than two years.

"What I wanted to do for Mr. Lenorris was really just make an environment for him where he could be safe and where he didn't have to feel like he was left out from the safe living conditions of everybody's home," Rivers said.

 Pinckney, a lifelong Effingham County resident, was appreciative of the acts of kindness, especially Rivers' tent donation.

"I've been sleeping in old trucks and stuff like that in this cold weather," he said. "I really don't know from night to night where I'm going to be."

Rivers used her own money to buy the items.

"I just wanted to make him more comfortable," Rivers said. "I feel like we should give back."

Rivers, a member of the Christian Leadership Academy and volunteer for Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Coastal Empire, learned about the importance of generosity from her parents, Minister John and Eva Goldwire. She plans to follow her mother into the nursing field.

"She used to be with me when I would go to my patients' houses," Mrs. Goldwire said. "She would ask me, 'Why did you do that?' or 'Why are you giving them money?' I said, 'Because we never know. It could be God on the side of the street asking for a dollar.'

"She was always questioning me and I let her see how things are."

Pinckney is unable to work because of a persistent medical condition. He has been plagued by keloids, thick scars resulting from excess growth of fibrous tissue, for 12 years. 

A football-sized keloid that was removed from Pinckney's chest in 2013 made it difficult for him to swallow. 

"I took him to the doctor and they did surgery on him," Mrs. Goldwire said. "I couldn't let him suffer like that."

Pinckney was hospitalized for three months following the surgery and Mrs. Goldwire has provided food for him numerous times since. She recently got him some blankets from Family Promise of Effingham County.

Family Promise serves homeless women and children, and has temporary housing available for them. Similar programs for adult men are scarce, however, and Rivers would like to see that situation remedied.

"It's not fair," she said. "(Men) should have a chance, too."

Pinckney used to share an apartment with one of his siblings. After suffering a stroke, however, he moved to Atlanta, leaving Pinckney unable to afford the rent alone.

Pinckney said he has found a place in Springfield to plant his tent but he isn't certain how long it will be allowed to stay there.

"There are all kinds of city ordinances that you have to go by," he said. "I'm just grateful to have the things they gave to me."