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Personal Journeys


The man with the red, red beard

Kyle Brooks' whimsical street art has made him a darling of corporate Atlanta.

Healing touch

A mysterious illness changes the course of a hospital chaplain's life.
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Life of Brian

As Manuel's Tavern prepares to reopen, owner Brian Maloof looks for ways to bring his love of farming to the table.
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Reclaimed lives

Troubled siblings find success in lessons rooted in grandfather’s teachings, using reclaimed wood to build furniture.
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Personal Journeys past

Personal Journeys is now in its fourth year and any trepidation that we might run out of compelling stories to tell has been proven unfounded so far. Here are four very different stories about extraordinary people who are charting new territory in their lives and giving it their all.
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Remembering Frank

A friend memorializes Frank Barham’s life by finishing the journey cut tragically short last year.
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Grandmother of the year

Like 100,000 grandparents in Georgia, Loretta Jenkins is raising grandchildren, and every day is a challenge.
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Usher for the ages

Walter Banks looks back over his 50 years with the Atlanta Braves.
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Keeper of the island

Centenarian Sandy West wants to live out her days on Ossabaw Island, but time may be running out.
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The fixer

Jane Warring helped move Leon Sims out of his bug-infested apartment and into her heart.
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Journeys revisited

An update on four extraordinary people who follow the beat of their own drums.
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Vanished

How the mysterious disappearance of Sherron Lankester’s son nearly destroyed her. The Acworth woman and her daughter are haunted by the belief that people in their community know what happened to him but won’t say.
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Fixing to die

Battle with deadly superbug upends writer’s life. He’s one of the lucky ones.
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Legacy of loss

Leslie Mackinnon's grief over relinquishing her sons for adoption inspires her passion to change the process.
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Silver linings playbook

Rare genetic disorder teaches Milton couple about loss, grief and recovery.
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Uno the therapy dog

Chaplain's four-legged colleague is on the job, helping children heal.
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Rock bottom

Ulysses Elijah’s road to redemption began with a tragic fall.
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'Emma Is a boy'

An Alpharetta mom adapts to life with a transgender child. Winner of the second annual Personal Journeys Writing Contest.
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The bombardier's legacy

A cache of old letters inspires Ross Greene to retrace a war hero’s fatal path.
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The thrill-seeker

Marietta resident Mike Grigsby has conquered the seven summits of the world and now eyes another adventure.
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Off the beaten path

Couple abandons the 9-5 for Costa Rica and discovers a sweet spot for chocolate.
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Faith in Atlanta

As Atlanta diversifies, Sunday isn’t the only day of worship anymore.
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Aimee’s odyssey

Part I: Infected by a flesh-eating bacteria, Aimee Copeland fights for her life.
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Aimee's odyssey

Part II: Aimee Copeland adapts to a new way of life and gets her joy back.
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Band of daughters

Two strangers unite to retrace their enigmatic fathers’ march across Europe as POWs in WWII.
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The warrior puppy

Starved and abandoned as a puppy, Xena cheats death to change lives.
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The bandit's daughter

Writer Molly Brodak comes to terms with growing up in the shadow of her bank-robber dad.
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Shooting stars

Robb Cohen has spent more than a decade of capturing a wide variety of musical artists for the AJC.

The fixer

Jane Warring helped move Leon Sims out of his bug-infested apartment and into her heart.

'Sing to Me'

Excerpt from the new memoir by music industry legend Antonio 'LA' Reid.

Reclaimed lives

Troubled siblings find success in lessons rooted in their grandfather’s teachings.

Fixing to die

Battle with deadly superbug upends writer’s life. He’s one of the lucky ones.

Hope and faith

A photo of in utero surgery made Samuel Armas famous before he was even born. He continues to astonish today.

Grandmother of the year

Like 100,000 grandparents in Georgia, Loretta Jenkins is raising grandchildren, and every day is a challenge.

Going once, going twice

After 50 years of collecting vintage vehicles, music boxes, jukeboxes, Houdini memorabilia and more, auctioneer Preston Evans is set to pound his gavel one last time.

'Alligator Candy'

The death of his brother prompts a man to go back and investigate his memory of the events. An excerpt from journalist David Kushner's memoir about the 1973 murder of his big brother in Tampa, Fla.

Curses and blessings

A devastating motorcycle accident saves Tim Keel’s life by revealing a deadly secret.

'The Underdogs'

Tethered to a service dog, twins with autism find freedom. An exclusive book excerpt by Melissa Fay Greene.

Some gumshoes die hard

Despite a knack for sniffing out the truth, the answer private eye Bob Poulnot wants most still eludes him.

Becoming Jericho Brown

How the poet endured a violent childhood, got a new name and received a Guggenheim Fellowship.

Making amends

Georgia-born war veteran returns to Vietnam to help clean up the mess left behind.

Mom on a mission

Stephanie Stone was thrust into action by the senseless death of her son.

Fear and gratitude

A worrywart mom learns to let go when her son battles brain cancer

Usher for the ages

Walter Banks looks back over his 50 years with the Atlanta Braves.

Two hearts, worlds apart

Laura Haley was looking for purpose. She found it and a whole lot more in Uganda.

'Remain Free'

How a death-row inmate changed the life of an Alpharetta teen. A book excerpt by Gautam Narula.

Call of the wild

Michele Stumpe was always wild about animals. Then the sanctuary workers and their children captured her heart.

Identity lost and found

Growing up in the South, a multiethnic girl navigates the cultural divide. Anjali Enjeti contemplates her cultural identity.

Compassionate capitalist

Real estate whiz Marjy Stagmeier is changing the lives of her tenants, one apartment complex at a time.

Uno the therapy dog

At Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, a chaplain's four-legged colleague is on the job, helping children heal.

'Cooking as Fast as I Can'

'Suburban Gospel'

A boy ponders his dad’s place in the world against the backdrop of Atlanta’s child murders. A book excerpt by Mark Beaver.

'A Thousand Naked Strangers'

‘A Paramedic’s Wild Ride to the Edge and Back’ — a book excerpt by former EMT Kevin Hazzard.

Superman and the mysterious injury

Clark Jacobs can’t recall the moment his life changed, but his long recovery has been a constant reminder.

Mind the gap

On a mother-son trip to NYC, the torch is passed on the definition of cool.

Aimee's odyssey

infected by a flesh-eating bacteria, free-spirited student Aimee Copeland battled back after mulitple amputations and a moment in the national spotlight

Called for life

Dr. Kent Brantly was a medical missionary with Samaritan's Purse, living with his wife, Amber, and their children in war-torn Liberia. While working at ELWA hospital, where only one Ebola patient out of dozens had survived, he began to run a fever. "Kent, bud. We got your test result. And I'm really sorry to tell you that it is positive for Ebola." I had not expected to hear those words despite...

The road home

Driving my favorite part of Ga. Highway 83, it's easy to lose track of time. With only an occasional house or rusted fence to break up the miles of pine trees, irrigated cornfields and rolling pastures dotted with anthills, driving easily takes a back seat to my thoughts. Deemed a Scenic Byway by the state, Ga. 83 is an 86.5-mile two-lane road that traverses from Monroe south to Forsyth, passing through...

The novice farmer

As a teen Nathan Brett learned the guitar and performed in the church band between his father's prayers. From his home in Madison County, he could reach the rock 'n' roll mecca of Athens by car in 20 minutes. Music consumed his thoughts. When he finished school, Nashville called. Back home, Murray Brett worried. What kind of life was his oldest son choosing? Murray feared that spiritual bankruptcy...

The secret wedding party

A daughter adopted at birth resurfaces in Maxene Raices’ life and helps heal old wounds. But secrecy still looms. Read the winner of our first Personal Journeys Writing Contest.

The new normal

Cyclist Greg Germani on the long road to recovery after hit-and-run crash.

The reinvention of HENSE

How the Atlanta graffiti artist went legit and became a global art star.

'The Lost Gulf'

An excerpt from Rick Bragg’s new collection of essays, ‘My Southern Journey: True Stories from the Heart of the South.’

The neighbors

Broke and lonely, Vicki Van Der Hoek had nothing to look forward to until she met 6-year-old Leon Shields. 15 years later, the unlikely friends are still very close.

Maximus the Great

Meeting her child’s special needs isn’t enough for Keri Janton. She wants to give her son a life of joy.

From lawless to lawyer

David Lee Windecher was on the road to prison until he turned his life around.

A veteran's story

An excerpt from ‘Fighting the Cold War: A Soldier’s Memoir’ by late Jonesboro resident Gen. John R. Galvin

Missing Vicki

An adventurous teen, her devoted sister and a trip of a lifetime gone wrong.

In the spirit

Tenor Sam Hagan has been the sound of the holiday season for nearly 40 years.

Personal Journeys revisited

A look back at four stories of courage, generosity and perseverance.

Journeys revisited

Four stories about the uplifting power of family and friends, new and old.

The Gathering

An excerpt from ‘Crooked Letter I: Coming Out in the South’ by James Villanueva.

The ref

72-year-old lacrosse crew chief Louie Diaz reluctantly eyes retirement from the sport he loves.

From Tennessee to home

Road of success and setbacks leads hip-hop artist Speech to his calling.

Lost and Found

For AJC sports columnist Jeff Schultz, saving his son meant letting him go.
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More Personal Journeys Stories