Thomas Murphy’s Salvation Army Story

Whether it’s gumbo, seafood, fried chicken or “pretty much anything fried,” Thomas Murphy loves to cook it.

He was raised by his grandmother in a cafe in Noxapater, Mississippi, where he started working at 8 years old. He always loved cooking, so he did a lot of it.

Working for the railroad in 1978, Murphy ended up in Chicago. His wife passed away after battling cancer for seven years, which propelled him into his own battle, struggling with heroin addiction.

“You don’t really know who to turn to for grief. So you reach out for something, and I just reached out for the wrong thing.”

Homeless, living in a tent on Wilson Avenue, Murphy turned to The Salvation Army where he found his place again, as a chef.

Today, Thomas Murphy is the head chef at The Freedom Center.

He always loved cooking, and now he gets to do a lot of it.

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