Formerly homeless man graduates with master's degree, looking for employment

IREDELL COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - Four years ago, we did our first story on John Barber because he graduated from Gardner-Webb with a bachelor's degree.

The last thing he said to us four years ago, "I'm going for my master's next."

The feature was huge to begin with. Twice in Barber's life, he's been homeless. At times, he's slept in a car. Once, he was evicted from a home in Statesville, and was forced to take his wife and kids to a motel. They stayed for six months.

"They worked with us and were very nice when we couldn't come up with all the rent," Barber said.

That was when Barber decided to make something better of himself by getting an education.

Since he got his bachelor's, he's been working full time and going to school full time to get his master's, just like he said he would.

Saturday he walked across the stage again at Gardner-Webb, with an advanced degree in Business Administration.

"If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always gotten," Barber said.

He said those are the words that kept him going through the struggles of working, going to school, and raising a family.

On Friday, Uncle C's Barbeque in Statesville, where he's worked for the last 4 years, closed its doors for good.

Now Barber is looking for a place to use his degrees and find permanent employment.

"My problem is experience. Everybody wants someone with experience," Barber said.

Since he's been going to school for the last 8 years, the 39-year-old man doesn't have much experience in the fields he's educated in. He's looking for someone to take a chance on him.

"Once that door opens, I guarantee you that I can rock it. I know I can," so said the man who once was homeless and set his sights on a goal of becoming educated, twice.

If you're interested in offering employment to Barber, send us an e-mail at

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