'I hope they are proud of me': Survivor thankful Pulse fund helped him buy dream business
Pulse survivor purchases his own food truck with money from OneOrlando Fund
ORLANDO, Fla. – More than $31 million donated after the Pulse attack helped more than 300 people, including one survivor who said that, because of the donations to the OneOrlando Fund, he's able to live out his dreams of owning his own food truck.
"It's called Arepas La Gran Caracas," survivor Victor Guanchez said as sweat dripped down his forehead from behind the window of the truck.
Tuesday marked two years since the night Guanchez was behind the bar at Pulse, working as a barback when the mass murderer barged in and opened fire.
"I got shot twice," he said. "On my hip and my other on was on my foot."
During the last two years, his road to healing has been a long one both physically and mentally.
That's why, on the two-year anniversary, he parked his food truck behind the Orlando United Assistance Center on Michigan Street as the center hosted an open house to show survivors and members of the communities the free resources and counseling still available to them.
"They have helped me a lot in the past, so I wanted to be thankful with them, too. So they invited me to bring the truck here. Of course I am going to say 'yes,'" Guanchez said.
Guanchez spent Tuesday showing off his red, blue and yellow food truck and his menu, which includes hot dogs, empanadas, hamburgers and arepas. He said it was a dream he and his parents worked for long before Pulse and, after, just couldn't see how it would ever come true.
"We had the dream before everything happened and we were trying to make it possible, like working and working and everything," he said. "Like, it was a goal that I had because I couldn't make it possible before."
He said it all came true because of those who donated more than $31 million to the OneOrlando Fund, and he thanks the community that still helps him recover today.
"I hope they are proud of me like I am proud of me," Guanchez said. "I just want to say, 'Thank you. Thank you. Thank you a lot.'"
Orlando Commissioner Patty Sheehan said good things happen when the community comes together.
"These are the stories of hope. When you help people recover and you nurture them like they do at the Orlando United Assistance Center, their lives turn around," Sheehan said. "They were victims of horrible violence and horrible hatred and now we have responded with love and we support them and this is what happens."
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