Thursday, August 25, 2011

Greenville Victim

Some of you may have heard of the man who was beaten in downtown Greenville this past week and is now in a coma. If not, here is a link to the story so you can get a little more background on his situation:

Today we received an email from one of our Sunday school teachers telling us of the amazing background of the victim. He really is inspiring & thought more people may want to know his story, so here it is!

August 23, 2011

RE:  Jorge Jimenez-Flores

Dear Friends of Bridges to a Brighter Future:

We are writing to make you aware of a horrible attack on an amazing young man and asking for your support to assist his special family.  Jorge Jimenez-Flores was the victim of an unprovoked attack in downtown Greenville on early Sunday morning, August 21.  He was hit in the head and is currently in the ICU at Greenville Memorial.  He has sustained injuries to the front and back of his head.   Today he had surgery to relieve the pressure on his brain from swelling and bleeding.  They removed a portion of his skull to allow his brain to expand.  The police are currently working to find the attacker.  They have recently released video to the media to try to find the attacker.

Jorge Jimenez-Flores is the epitome of a young man living the American Dream.  He came to America in middle school and worked on a peach farm for a couple of years before entering school.  He and his family are here legally.  He entered in ninth grade knowing very little English.  He was accepted into the Bridges to a Brighter Future program at Furman University during his ninth grade year and began attending Blue Ridge High School his sophomore year.  He was a beloved student at Bridges to a Brighter Future and Blue Ridge High School.  He flourished in the Bridges program, being elected to the student leadership team and receiving many academic awards.  Many of us have never known a student more hard working than Jorge.  He worked full-time (40 hours per week) all through high school to support his family.  In addition, he spent several summers in high school and college going to Nicaragua on mission trips with his high school Spanish Teacher.  Jorge is a beloved part of the mission team and always connected with the Nicaraguan children.

It was a very special day and especially meaningful when we surprised Jorge at Blue Ridge High to present him his admission letter to Furman University and the news that he would also be given a full financial aid package (see attached picture)!  Jorge's college dreams were coming true!  He was the first in his family to graduate from high school and enroll in college!  Jorge had a very successful four years at Furman.  He flourished and grew into a confident young man.  It wasn't always easy, he had to work very hard as English was his second language and he continued to work through college to support his family.  During his Junior and Senior years, he started an internship with ACCH, Alliance for Collaboration with the Hispanic Community, an organization whose mission is to enrich the quality of life in Greenville by coordinating initiatives for our Hispanic community.   Jorge also studied abroad in Chile his last semester of college, getting the experience of a lifetime.

As result of his hard work and determination, Jorge graduated from Furman in May!  This was a very proud day for his mother, father, and siblings.  Perhaps one of Jorge's greatest accomplishments has been being a positive role model in his family.  His younger sister, Maria is now a sophomore at Clemson, having a very successful freshman year.  Because of Jorge's trailblazing, Maria is succeeding in college!

Currently, Jorge continues to volunteer with ACCH and work in the community to enhance the lives and opportunities for Hispanic people while looking for full-time opportunities.  He was featured in a Greenville News article in June about successful immigrants.

Those of us close to Jorge were shocked to hear of the news of the attack.  In the words of an Academic Dean at Furman, “I feel angry and deeply sad that something like this would happen to such a wonderful human being.”  Jorge is indeed one of the most exceptional human beings to walk this earth.

We say all of this to request your support.  Jorge does not have health insurance.  In addition, he was the sole source of income for his family.  His father suffers from glaucoma and is not able to work.  Jorge has always selflessly assisted his family.  

We are currently working with various State and private agencies to manage what are sure to be very high medical bills.  We are requesting your support to assist his family with living expenses. We have set up a fund through Furman University’s Chaplains Office to accept donations for his family.  The donations are not tax-deductible since they will in turn be given to the family.  Checks must be made to Furman University and in the memo:  Jorge Jimenez

Please send contributions to:

Furman University
Chaplains Office
C/O Susan Bennett
3300 Poinsett Highway
Greenville, SC  29613

Or drop them off at the Chaplain's Office (8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., M-F), located in the basement of the Furman Chapel on the left side of the Chapel if you are facing it.

Make checks payable to:  Furman University
Memo:  Jorge Jimenez

In addition to contributions, we ask for your prayers and positive thoughts.  We expect Jorge to make a full recovery.  At this time, what he needs most is for all of us to pray for his healing.

Jorge has worked hard for his family, I hope you will join us as we all come together and work selflessly for him, he deserves it!  

With a grateful and humble heart,

Tobi Swartz

Tobi K. Swartz
Bridges to a Brighter Future
Furman University
Office:  864.294.3135
Cell:  864.313.6941

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Changing the world, one young person at a time.

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