Readers note: This article is the first part in an investigative series by Street Roots on Traumatic Brain Injury and homelessness. Pick up the June 10, edition for the next in-depth article on the topic. Read Part II here.
You might say Nick Patton was born to fish.
Literally born on a boat, Nick spent his earliest years living in orphanages along the Alaskan coastline. He ran away at the age of eight and quickly learned how to take care of himself and to rely on others — traveling in groups around the Pacific Northwest, picking apples and doing day labor.
He was only 11 years old when he started working the boats and canneries of the Alaskan fishing industry. With a community of other fisherman, Nick followed the seasonal work, living on boats and in tents, even during the cold Anchorage winters.
It all ended with the smack of a crowbar. Continue reading