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Former NFL athlete helps California man go from homelessness to college graduate

(KYMA, KECY/ CNN) - A homeless California man dealing with illness and drug abuse for decades was looking for a way out when the help of his father and former NFL player got him a college degree.

Tomas Alejandrez was dealing with poverty and drug abuse, leading to him sleeping on the streets. Eventually, his father took him off the streets to get treatment and push him to change.

But it wasn't just his father that helped him make a big turnaround.

Former NFL football player, Zack Follett, came across Alejandrez on a corner one day and offered to help him out. Years later, Alejandrez would walk away with a degree.

"It brings tears to my eyes when I think about his perseverance because when I saw him on the corner that one day, he was in pretty bad shape," said Follett. "I was just able to bring him a cup of coffee and love on him."

Unfortunately, the two lost touch over some time due to Tomas' rehabilitation and school, but Follett was overcome with joy when he caught up with him and saw how far he came.

"What it showed me is how God can use somebody who just says yes," said Follett.

The pair of friends say they hope to finally meet again in-person sometime later this summer.

Jocelyn Ortega reports. KION News.

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Cole Johnson

Cole grew up in a small town of just over 3,000 people called Moravia, NY—home of President Millard Fillmore and Fillmore Glen State Park.

He is eager to wake up every morning with the Desert Southwest and give viewers the greatest coverage to start their day.

Contact Cole at cole.johnson@kecytv.com.

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