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Md. Secretary Of Commerce Meets Crack-Born Man Beating The Odds

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Recently, WJZ brought you the success story of a young man who has overcome problems that would have sidelined most of us.

RELATED: Born Prematurely With Crack In His System, Baltimore Man Now Beating The Odds

Mike Schuh reports, the Maryland Secretary of Commerce saw that story and wanted to meet that man.

Most mornings, Montay Henson takes the 51 bus. If he’s running late, though, he hitchhikes. That’s where Mike Schuh met him.

On their short drive earlier this month, Mike learned a lot about the 24-year-old.

“Both of my parents were addicted to drugs and I was born with crack in my system three months premature,” he says.

He has 14 brothers and sisters, none of whom share the same mother and father.

“To have wisdom, you have to be able to learn from other people’s mistakes, so I tried to just look at my parents and look at my father, especially, who spent a lot of time incarcerated,” he says.

Street drugs ended up killing his father. But early on, his grandma saved him.

She’s a janitor who cleans a downtown Baltimore high rise at night.

“As soon as I got with my grandmother, she instilled, you know ‘learning is fun’ in me and I really did have fun learning growing up,” he says.

He had the grades but not the cash to stay in college, but he found the technical training program “Year Up.”

His story caught the attention of Michael Gill, the Maryland Secretary of Commerce.

“His background, how he somehow or another, this young man– he survives,” Gill says.

Henson was one the speakers at a breakfast to encourage more businesses to hire Year Up grads.

“They have my back and I should have their backs, I should be able to be a brand ambassador, and I feel like, you know, if this goes well that means we’re gonna have lots more opportunities,” Henson said.

His enthusiasm travels well, so well, that the secretary points him out as the perfect Year Up representative.

“If you can combine as a business, I can get a Montay Henson, who I really believe can get it done what I want to do and I’m being part of something that’s special, that you need the Year Up’s. It’s a no brainer,” Gill says.

Executive director Roland Selby readily agrees.

“There’s a whole city full of Montay’s,” he says.

To his surprise, Montay was singled out by the secretary for his perseverance.

Soon Montay will begin a 6 month internship.

Henson and 69 other Year Up students will graduate early next year.

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