A pastor from West Palm Beach, Florida, passed away recently from complications due to a gunshot he inflicted nearly 60 years ago, according to Fox News.
A medical examiner determined that John Henry Barrett, 77, died due to an infection related to the gunshot wound and ruled his death a homicide.
Barrett was shot in 1958, at the age of 19, by a friend during a fight. The wound damaged his spinal cord and left him partially paralyzed, requiring him to ambulate with a cane.
Barrett served as a pastor for three decades, and was a former director of the Pahokee Housing Authority. According to his family, Barrett did not speak often about his gunshot wound; whenever he did, he chose to use it as a way to inspire others.
“He never wanted to be looked upon as (being disabled),” said Terrance Lee, his great-nephew. “He wanted to be looked up to as a normal person in society. That’s the way he lived his life.”
In 1974, Barrett told The Miami Herald that he was thankful for the wound because it kept him from working in the fields, like many of his friends. “If the accident hadn’t happened,” he said, “I would have spent all of my life as a farm worker.”
Relatives of his took a moment to remember his passing. “His voice was very commanding,” said Robert Lee, Terrance Lee’s brother. “He was handicapped, (but) if you close your eyes and you hear him speak, you wouldn’t know that.”
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