Franklin Square native Michael Messina has been trying to get his life back on track since he walked out of prison on March 13, 2019. He regularly attends Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings at St. Catherine of Sienna Roman Catholic Church, and has been sober since Dec. 13, 2010. He is now working at the Salvation Army, and spends his free time telling others his story.
But on March 16, Messina’s life was once again upended when the apartment he had been living in burned down in a 10-alarm fire. He lost everything, he said, including all of the money he had saved.
“Maybe this is all part of it,” he said of God’s plans, explaining that he used to rob people to get drugs, and now he has worked hard to earn his own money all to have it taken away from him so suddenly.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation, and Messina said, only his landlord, who lived in the basement of the Floral Park building, was home at the time. No injuries were reported.
Messina and his fiancee are now living in her mother’s basement, but are looking for more permanent and affordable apartments in the Franklin Square, Elmont and Floral Park areas.
“I’m angry and I’m frustrated, but I’m not going to drink or do drugs over it,” Messina, 58, said. “I’m trying to do the right thing.”
He created an online fundraiser on March 18 asking for help, which, he said, he never does, but he is desperate. On the website, he explains, he has spent most of his time since he was released from prison helping homeless people and those who are battling addiction, “and now I am homeless myself.”
Still, Messina wrote, he has “100 percent faith my needs will be met.”
To donate to the GoFundMe, visit https://bit.ly/3eWOWlu.