Horace A. Stewart receives services at the Bronx Traumatic Brain Injury Program. Horace recounts an important date–May 6th, 1986–while in his native country when he was severely injured. “I was in Jamaica at the time and inside my family business when a robber came and attacked me. Many of my friends came to help me right away and took me to the hospital,” he says. “If it wasn’t for my friends I would not be here.”
The accident changed his life and Horace believed he was never going to be able to speak again. “I wasn’t able to speak after the accident, anything that came from my mouth was just babbling. While I was recovering, everything that came to my mind I wrote down in my Bible. I just wrote and wrote, everyday everything, that’s when my speech started to come back slowly.” Today, Horace carries and reflects daily with the same Bible. Horace says, “I would not be able to speak again if it wasn’t for my speech therapist who didn’t let me give up. It took me years.”
Horace uses his voice much more now to sing beautiful melodies at church and each day at the Bronx TBI Center. Jasper Lewis, the Music Consultant, leads a music group with Horace and others at Bronx TBI. “My life is much different now that the good Lord has given me strength. I have been singing for years with the help of the women at church. I turn first to God,” Horace adds.
Jasper describes Horace’s love for music, “Horace feels the music deeply, and when he closes his eyes to sing he holds nothing back. Relearning speech has been a challenge for Horace, but when he sings it’s clear that he still has much to say.”
Horace writes his own music, has published songs, and sings his works to the public. Early this year, Horace sang his original published song entitled He Will Protect You from Harm at an AHRC NYC talent event at Walter and Evelyn Redfield Day Services. Horace was asked how he feels when he sings, Horace replied with a wide smile. “When I sing, it’s natural…I am myself.” Currently, he is a member of the Greater Mt. Hermon Institutional Baptist Church choir, located in the Bronx.
As for Horace’s plans for the future, he states, “My future goal is to see what the Lord will give me next from the songs I have been writing. My goal is to go back to Jamaica and walk and talk with the people from Jamaica.”