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Man now helping town that was there for him in his time of need
CENTURY, Fla. (WEAR) —
Jake Livingston is an iconic figure in the Town of Century. Wherever you go, people will tell you, "Everybody looks out for Jake." Their extraordinary kindness is a gift Jake makes sure to repay.
In 2011, unfortunate life circumstances left Jake Livingston's future uncertain with no permanent place to live and no way to provide for himself. Residents of the Town of Century literally came to his rescue. They donated land, secured a mobile home, utilities, even a gator for getting around. They gave Jake his very own home, which he named Hazzard County and dubbed himself "Boss Hogg" of his property.
The residents' kindness to him, Jake says he'll never never forget, "This whole town of Century helped me when I needed some help."
While a loving community got him started, Jake took off to earn his way. He started his own business - Hazzard County Snacks.
"I had an idea of a vision that if a fella could have a dream, why couldn't I open up Hazzard County Snacks on wheels and bring something to Century," he said.
It wasn't all about what Jake could do for himself, but what he could give back to his community. All over town, he does countless chores for senior citizens and lends a hand to anyone in need. He said sometimes it's the little things that matter the most.
"I volunteer my time anywhere when someone needs help. Even if it ain't but a word of prayer with somebody. I'll have a word of prayer with them," Jake said.
One of Jake's proudest connections is to a new school in the community for children with autism - East Hill Academy Century campus. He feels a kinship with the students here.
Assistant Principal Heather Smith knows him for the ever present smile and the spirit to share whatever he has.
"Someone who gives, who has a heart bigger than anyone else I know. And who wants to make a difference; who wants to make a difference," she said.
When the annual fundraiser walk for Autism Pensacola was coming up, Jake boldly went before the town council to ask for a donation. Council couldn't do that, but he says what they did do was... "They made the motion to donate a $500 check to the Century Academy and that's how I got the donation from the town."
The students in turn decided to honor Jake for his compassion. They built a little free library in his honor. The day of the dedication of the library was a very big day in Jake's life. He says it was another chance to do something for his community.
"If I hadn't went down there and got that donation for them kids, they wouldn't have a library like this," Jake said.
At the ceremony, Jake softly uttered a comment to himself that caught Smith's attention. She says it spoke volumes, "He said, ummm, 'Everyone said Boss Hogg would never be able to do anything.' And he said, 'I sure showed them.'"
Angels In Our Midst is sponsored by Nemours Children's Specialty Care.