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Inspiring 815: Ethan Taylor

Getting on a roller coaster may seem like a normal experience for someone Ethan Taylor’s age. But for him, the journey to get on a roller coaster has not been easy.

“In high school I got on a roller coaster and I didn’t fit and so I had get off and it was the most embarrassing thing that ever happened to me.”

For most of his adult life, Ethan has battled with his weight.

“I was 368 pounds. I was coming off a back injury, I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t run and couldn’t lift things. I pretty much just sat in bed, and that forced me drop out of college. I was just in a bad place mentally and physically, I was abusing substances.”

It took him hitting rock bottom to pick himself back up. That’s where Jim McIlroy with Food 4 Fuel stepped in.

“He got real serious in January, and he wanted to sit down and really talk about how he can transform his life, and his mind and everything.”

While Jim is Ethan’s weight and diet coach, he is also his life coach.

“It makes my heart just absolutely explode with joy. I’m so proud of him all the time, and I’m with him all the time. Like every day.”

Jim is helping spread the message of Ethan’s journey, and inspiring others to do the same.

“There’s a lot of people that can benefit from seeing somebody that just says I’m willing, I’m ready and I’m able. So, we were willing to put some assistance behind Ethan, but he had to make the decision. He made the decision, we were just there to help him.”

Ethan Taylor, inspiring 815, one pound at a time

Watch the video, HERE.

Breakfast and Blankets event serves 115 people

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) – This weekend is the kick off to national hunger and homeless week and organizations in Rockford are coming together to help the homeless community.

Saturday morning’s initiative was to help out as many homeless people as possible. For the third annual Breakfast and Blankets event, three organizations came together: The Fatherhood Encouragement project, Food 4 Fuel and the Rockford Police Department. In the end, they were able to help 115 people stay a bit warmer this winter. People were lined up in downtown Rockford ready for a hot meal and winter clothes. So they could be ready for the colder weather headed our way.

“We want to make an impact, a lasting impact. So, that is what I think is super important about the Fatherhood Encouragement Project and our serving is we have dad’s and their families come and they get hands-on experience with really developing relationships in our community with folks who are in need,” said Danial Petrie, president of The Fatherhood Encouragement Project.

If you would like to get involved with the Fatherhood Encouragement Project you can find their information on Facebook.

Full article, here.

Local company collects donations for the family of man shot and killed on Sablewood.

LOVES PARK, Ill. (WIFR) — “Be inspired, be inspiring.” That’s the motto of local healthy food and healthy lifestyle business Food 4 Fuel. The company has now teamed up with a former employee to help a family in need.

Bernal worked with Lilly and the two were friends. Hours after hearing about his friend’s death, Bernal stood near 15th and Main asking passersby for cash and visited local bars as well. From that alone, he made almost $500 to help with Lilly’s funeral and clothes for Lilly’s children. Bernal also asked McIlroy for his help. Food 4 Fuel CEO Jim McIlroy says Jesus Bernal came to him with the idea to help the children of Jordan Lilly. 21-year-old Lilly was killed leaving a party on Sablewood Drive, the morning of July 22.

“I came to Jim because I know Jim knows a lot of good people that are helping as you can see the donations that came by,” Bernal says. “I know that he would reach out to a lot of people. He’s been good. He’s a good guy.”

“I was just inspired by you know, his passion and enthusiasm during this grieving time because that was a friend of his that he had lost,” McIlroy says. “And he just wanted to step up and take action and try to do something to help and make good out of a bad situation.”

The community is encouraged to bring diapers, wipes, food, size three and four T clothing and baby shampoo or soap. The items can be dropped off until Friday at the Food 4 Fuel fridge inside the Carlson Ice Arena.

Food 4 Fuel will deliver the donations to the Lilly family on Friday.

Three strangers form bond helping the homeless in Rockford

A former prostitute, a Rockford cop and a businessman. They may sound like an unlikely trio. But together, they’re the perfect combination to make a difference.

“On a daily basis, two or three people come to our door for food every day just through word of mouth,” said Carly Rice, a community activist who used to be homeless.

Rice knows what it’s like to be hungry and alone. She was a drug addict and a prostitute before she turned her life around. It’s why she started walking around the Midtown neighborhood feeding homeless people healthy meals. But her little red wagon and home refrigerator could only do so much, That’s when Jim McIlroy, owner of Food 4 Fuel, stepped in.

“I’ve had this vision for a long time of a refrigerator, putting it downtown and just allow people to come and take what they need,” said McIlroy.

He donated a commercial refrigerator to Carly, along with a promise to help her in her mission. He supplies some of the healthy food that will fill it. But the help doesn’t stop there.  Resident Police Officer Eric Thurmond has joined on too.

“Especially in my line of work, I don’t know how long I have on this Earth.  So while I’m here I’m going to anything and everything to leave this place better than when I got here,” said Thurmond.

“He knows who the people are who are in really great need and he’s spending some of his own money to buy food,” said McIlroy.

Between the three of them they make, store and deliver the healthy food to anyone who needs it. But it’s not just about filling stomachs. It’s also about feeding souls.

“There are organizations out there for them but some of them don’t feel like they’re worthy of it and that’s a problem. So they need somebody in between that tells them ‘Hey, you know, you’re loved and you’re worthy.’,” said Rice.

A message the trio is focused on giving to anyone who needs a helping hand.

If you’d like to help, you can drop off donations of food or other products on Mondays to 1125 5th Avenue in Rockford.

Read the full article, here.