Our Vendors 

Greg Nelson & his DePaul family

Thu, Oct 11, 2012

Greg Nelson

Greg Nelson embodies the phrase “home is where the heart is.” Greg was born and raised in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. He remembers when the area was littered with gang members. “You had two groups of gangs on Fullerton and two groups of gangs on Sheffield. The Dominick’s used to be a library where the gang members did their recruiting,” Greg said. This didn’t scare him from the neighborhood.

Greg joined StreetWise in 1992. He was one of our first vendors. His first location was the 7/11 on Armitage and Sheffield. Greg took a three year break from vending. He moved to Indiana to live with his sister. He comes from a family of 11 siblings. “I have five brothers and five sisters. We live across the country.” Sadly, Greg doesn’t look forward to birthdays or holidays anymore. “I’ve lost a lot of family members. It makes birthdays and holidays difficult to celebrate.” Greg finds support in his customers.

“My customers are good people. They always ask me if I need something.” Greg remembers helping one student in particular. “I met one student who wanted to give up after three years. I told him not to give up. I said he would be successful in life if he finishes school.” The same student visited Greg a couple months ago to talk to him about the acting jobs he’s found recently. “He’s doing good now,” Greg said.

Greg has a great relationship with the DePaul students. He vends at the Dominick’s on Sheffield and Fullerton. “They are always asking about my day. One student, Arnold, plays his guitar next to me for hours.” Greg likes to protect students’ bikes while he vends. “I tell them; as long as I’m here your bike is safe.”

His second vending location is the post office in Lincoln Park. Greg stands near the door and opens it for patrons. Greg enjoys vending at both locations. “I want to thank the Post Office, Dominick’s and DePaul public safety for being so nice to me while I vend,” said Greg.

There are many students who have inspired Greg. The students keep Greg positive through all the tough times. “I want to say thank you to Marshall Hamilton, Ryan Senatore, Taylor Cochran, Katie Paul, Louis Renard, and Arnold Fonseca. They’ve stuck by my side and given me advice when I need it,” Greg said.

Greg is a man of God. He goes to the Pilgrim Baptist Church on 3300 S. Indiana Ave. “After I found God, my life has changed for the better.” Greg enjoys taking DePaul students with him to church. He also enjoys Kung-Fu. Greg spends considerable time in the morning working out and practicing some Kung-Fu. “My back limits the techniques I can do, but I hope to become a Kung-Fu instructor one day,” he said.

That’s Greg’s current goal. He hopes to become a martial arts instructor in the future. Greg says the inner peace Kung-Fu has brought him is worth the pain. “Martial arts teach you discipline, tolerance and focus. I don’t know where I would be without those values.” You can find Greg at his vending location, around DePaul’s Lincoln Park campus or working out at the Ray Meyer Fitness Center on occasion.

Written by Adrian Villalpando,
StreetWise Digital Marketing Intern

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