Beating the Odds; Washington Overcomes the Challenge
GRANTS PASS, Ore. —
Grants Pass wrestler and running back Vincent Washington didn't always believe in himself.
“It makes you really think about," Washington said. "Do I really want live like this my whole entire live, it really makes you contemplate your life and it really changed me.”
Vince moved with his family from Las Vegas to Oregon when he was 15.
“We kind of just packed up everything, threw it in the back of a truck, we had 900 dollars when we got up here." Washington said. "We didn’t know where our next meal was going to come from, we didn’t know where we were going to sleep that night.”
Vincent's parents were drug users and frequently making decisions that got in the way with the rest of his family.
When they moved to southern Oregon, his family didn't have a home; rather they bounced around from campsites to shelters to motel rooms which prevented Vince from attending school on a consistent basis.
Eventually his older brother had a permanent place to live and Vince followed.
At one point, he nearly went back to Las Vegas with his parents but his brothers girlfriend convinced him to stay.
“Til' this day I tell her now, she saved my life,” Washington said.
The living situation grew unhealthy for Vincent during his sophomore year at school. With increasing anger and frustration day after day, Vince turned to Ben Coulter his wrestling coach and counselor for advice.
“I look up to that man so much," Washington said. "I’m going to be like him one day; I hope to be half the man he is.”
“I think turning the corner for him was when Coach Coulter showed enough compassion and care for him," Grants Pass Head Football Coach John Musser said. "He said 'hey you know Vince we’ve got an empty couch if you need a place to stay that’s safe, and dry and away from harms way, you can have it' and you know there’s a couple other people that would have done the same thing for Vince because he’s that well loved around our school community.”
Coulter and his family have provided Vincent with love, compassion and a support system, all under one roof.
“He’s (Ben) been crazy inspirational," Washington said about Coulter. "He’s my mentor, he’s my father, he’s the dude I look up to; I love him til I die.”