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TYRONE BURRELL passes out flowers to mothers during Mother’s Day weekend in Market Square, Downtown.

It is ‘who God wanted me to be’

Sometimes, it takes a person who’s been down that road, walked down that path, and encountered that pain in order to understand that other person.

Pittsburgh’s homeless community is a forgotten community, said Tyrone “T-Bird” Burrell. And because he’s been homeless before, he’s determined to never let that community be forgotten again.

Burrell founded the Spiritual Devotional Outreach Recovery Program in 2015, in efforts to help the homeless and other underserved communities with finances, physical resources and a proverbial shoulder to cry on.

It’s the type of program that he said wasn’t available or well-known in his younger days. “My mom and grandmother always told me that I was very intelligent and that I could do things in a positive way,” Burrell told the New Pittsburgh Courier. “But the past was real bad for me. It was the negativity that I was around” that found Burrell in and out of jail for years.

“We all in life have choices that we make,” he said. “But at the same token, you’re either going to go down the right path or the wrong path. I was hard-headed.”

Burrell, a Pittsburgh native, attended Fifth Avenue, Langley and Schenley high schools.

While imprisoned, Burrell began his mental transformation. He started contacting a wealth of organizations that could assist financially in his new venture once he was released from prison. In 2015, Burrell was released from prison, with two years of parole…and the Spiritual Devotional Outreach Recovery Program was born.

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