The Hidden Story

| January 10, 2021 | 0 Comments

Sometimes life takes you on a journey that you never expected.  That’s exactly what recently happened to me.

This past month I received a press release on DJ Lance and Tuxedo, a special canine, whose story is on page 2 of this issue.  However, the real story is with Tuxedo’s human companion, Barry Soper. 

I have a tendency to do additional research on the subject material that is sent to my attention.  This time, what I learned made me realize that Barry Soper deserved more research and coverage. So, I emailed Soper and asked if I could talk to him.  Thankfully, he replied promptly.

What I learned is that Barry Soper is a man of adventure, experience, and good deeds.

During our conversation, Soper was very complimentary of DJ Lance, who he met at Comic Con 2019.  Lance, who is an entertainer and entrepreneur, has an amazing interest in children and reaching them in a positive way.  Lance met Tuxedo who was also Soper’s service dog.  Soper had been in a serious head on car accident and needed an intelligent and trained dog to assist him.  Seeing Tuxedo in action, Lance took interest in Soper’s amazingly talented and skilled dog. (In my opinion, that’s the way that positive synergy works.)

Then Soper told me that he co-authored a book, “A Bum Deal: An Unlikely Journey From Homeless to Humanitarian,” with Rufus Hannah,” a homeless person who he encountered many years ago on his property in North County. 

Soper was given an opportunity to help two homeless men who were veterans and came from families who were alcoholic and abusive. These two homeless men were bribed with food and drink to do death-defying stunts for a video story fed by people who didn’t value human beings, and benefitted financially from destroying homeless people’s lives. 

I recalled hearing about this story, yet, never knew what finally transpired, until talking to Soper.

What I learned is that Soper gave the men jobs and helped them turn their lives around. He said that Rufus Hannah proved to be a person looking for someone to believe in him.  With Soper’s assistance, he attended college and earned a 3.8 grade point average.  Together, Soper and Hannah participated in a lecture circuit, sharing their story and helping other homeless people to feel encouraged to change their lives.

Hannah and Soper also consulted with agencies that aid homeless vets, including VVSD and Father Joe’s Villages.  They also shared their story on “60 Minutes” and other news programs. It was Ed Bradley of “60 Minutes” who inspired Soper to write the book regarding his journey with Hannah.

When I asked about Rufus Hannah, how he was doing, Soper said he died in a car accident on October 4, 2017.  Hannah’s sister was driving and never fully recovered. 

Soper also shared that the book that he and Hannah co-authored is now being turned in to a motion picture that has a release date of 2024.  He never intended or thought that anything like this could happen. 

As we continued to discuss his interests and activities, Soper said he previously served on the board of Father Joe’s Villages and helped in the effort to develop the facility in Downtown San Diego. 

Currently, he is board chairman of the Oak Grove Center, a nonprofit residential treatment facility for autistic and severely abused children in Murrieta. The mission of Oak Grove Center is to rebuild the lives of at-risk children and their families through educating, restoring relationships, building character and instilling hope.

When I read this from the Oak Grove Center website, I thought, “This is what Barry Soper was doing for Rufus Hannah: educating, restoring relationships, building character and instilling hope.” 

I am looking forward to reading the book, which Soper offered to send to me. And, I will encourage others to read it as well. I definitely look forward to seeing the forthcoming motion picture.  Which reminds me, I need to ask Soper who he thinks will play his part.

Rufus Hannah (left) with Barry Soper.

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Category: Animals, Authors, Books, Entertainment, feature, Film, Local News, National News

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