James McKinney is a super hero. He came to Homes of Light like most clients in hopes of gaining back a piece of a life he once had. He was an Army Ranger for 12 years and moved back to his home town of Detroit after his service. His return home “wasn’t what I expected”, he says. He worked construction for a few years but moved to Atlanta in hopes of being able to provide a better quality of life for his family.The financial prosperity didn’t come as quickly as he hoped and the stress began to take its toll. Shortly after getting settled into his new life, James began experiencing pain and discomfort in his chest. He went to the ER where he was examined, tested, put on a higher dose of medication and sent home. A few weeks later he woke up disoriented, with a bloodied nose and helpless. He was able to get help dialing 911 from his room mate and was rushed to Emory Hospital. After a short evaluation from a cardio thoracic surgeon, it was determined that he needed quadruple by-pass surgery. He underwent surgery and began his six-month recovery process.

Given a second chance at life, James was determined to make the most of it. With his children living in another state with his ex wife, he wanted to make a difference in other children’s lives. While at Comic Con he met a group of people that told him about an opportunity at the children’s hospital. He began volunteering and found he enjoyed dressing as and drawing their favorite super heroes. His love for children is obvious as he talks about how much joy it brings him to see his work put smiles on the faces of children time after time. His “super hero” status doesn’t come from him cheating death, but from his ability to inspire children to enjoy life.