By Dillon Thomas
LYONS, Colo. (CBS4) – For the first time in nearly 20 years, Longmont resident Mickey Byrnes has a home to call his own in Lyons.
Byrnes said he was homeless since he was 18, living most of that time under bridges and next to bushes. However, he decided to make a change in his life. Through sobriety, and an attitude of willingness to do any job he could, he was able to purchase a truck.
Through running a tree company, Byrnes spent the last several years living in his pickup truck.
However, on Sunday night, Byrnes was given the keys to his tiny home, which he helped build himself.
A tiny home is a small unit, which sits on the back of a trailer.
“This is plenty of room,” Byrnes said, as he sat in his new home. “I made the decision to be part of an adult life.”
With the assistance of those he met along his road through sobriety, and others he met while working, he was given the opportunity to work on the tiny home that would eventually become his.
“He is very trustworthy, and honest,” said Dot Fears, a business owner.
“We are adopted parents to him,” said Claire Beesley, one of Byrnes’ mentors and aids.
At a housewarming party, Byrnes was given a framed newspaper article, which showed his home when he first started construction on it.
“He is taking so much pride in this. This is going to be where he has somewhere safe to sleep every night,” said Byron Fears, a business owner and friend.
Byrnes said one of the best parts of having the tiny home was having a door with a lock. He said that was something he never had for decades, aside from his car door.
Byrnes said the acquisition of the new home brought back the same emotions he had when he used to act.
“This roused up the same butterflies,” Byrnes said.
Those who know him best said he was proof that homeless people should be given chances, when they are working for the opportunity.
“Homeless people are people. If they are given a chance, they may have the ability to blossom,” Fears said.
“Never give up on someone, because (Byrnes) has come so far,” Beesley said.
Byrnes said he hoped his story would encourage others to not only give up on themselves, but to also not give up on others.
“Put your own work into your own life, and people notice. Make up your mind with what you want to do, and don’t take your eyes off of it,” Byrnes said. “Be good to everybody, you never know when you are entertaining angels.”
When asked if the tiny home would be his forever-home, Byrnes said he hadn’t thought that far in to the future. However, he said he always wanted to own land. So, if he is able to build a home on his own property one day, he would like to donate his tiny home to someone else in need.
Until that day comes, he said the tiny home would never be for sale.
Dillon Thomas is a reporter at CBS4 and a Colorado native. He believes everyone has a story, and would love to share yours! You can find more of his stories by following him on Twitter, @DillonMThomas.