Huxley Eversley lives by the motto of "self-determination."
Don't let critics stop you. Don't let problems turn you back. Don't let others control your success.
All of that was tested though nearly 30 years ago when Huxley, 58, was living in the southern Caribbean island of Trinidad. Huxley was putting together a clothesline at home when a wire sprung back and struck him and blinded him in his left eye.
He said it was the lowest point of his life.
"I felt frustrated. I felt hopelessness," Huxley said.
But then his mother spoke to him with a message that shaped his perspective from that day forward. "My mother told me one is better than none," he said. In short, his mother was teaching him to be grateful despite his circumstances.
So Huxley pressed on with the attitude that being "handicapped is not a liability."
Huxley shared part of his life story during a visit to our store at 186-02 Jamaica Ave. in Queens. He was helping a friend move furnishings out of storage because she was moving into a nearby apartment.
One of Huxley's proudest achievements also took place in Trinidad, where he decided to return to school at age 26. He attended a technical college to pursue a career in welding. He had been working with his uncle in that same field but needed to gain certified technical skills. It wasn't easy for him.
"I had a lapse (in my education) from age 15 to that time," he said. "So I had to pick up. I struggled."
But he persevered and completed the schooling in 1989, Huxley said.
Fifteen years ago, Huxley left Trinidad, where he had been living with his mother, for Queens. His mother had died in 2001, and he decided to join his brother, uncles and other relatives in Brooklyn and Queens. His eye injury also forced him to give up welding soon after his schooling and instead become a self-employed carpenter. He now installs drywall and takes on other masonry jobs.
Reflecting on his life, Huxley offered some lessons he learned: "For any young person, I would advise them to stay in school and to get an education. You have to have your own self-determination. You can't let other people shape your character.
"I would like to see a less violent world," he added. "I would like to see that the young people would have a sense of hope."
His own dreams are simple: "I would like to build a house and live a humble life."