CEO of Pro Athletes, Inc.
Duane D. West is a nationally acclaimed on-air, motivational TV personality accomplished motivational speaker and fitness consultant. His personal journey to achieve success is inspirational. He progressively moved from being a homeless, disadvantaged, at-risk, special needs student to college graduate, to motivational speaker, to fitness guru, to author, to pro football player, to national motivational TV personality NBC Universal TV.
D. West is a first generation college graduate. As a child there were nights he went to sleep with hunger pangs and woke up to a bitterly cold home that didn't have heat or hot water. At the age of 3, he accidentally drank Drano, a household drain cleaner!that contained lye. He was hospitalized for 2 months without a guarantee of a full recovery. Miraculously, D. West made a full recovery. He can talk. Today, he's a motivational speaker. Nothing is impossible as long as you believe it.
In elementary school he was classified as an at-risk, special needs student. He was a slow learner who had a challenging time reading and writing at his grade level. West is now an accomplished author and writer. He never gave up. West reads to thousands of students in schools from books he has written.
West recalls walking home from school in the 6th grade and seeing Sheriff's padlocks on his doors when he arrived home. His family lost their home. He was homeless. Life was an uphill climb from that day forward, but his struggles have made him stronger. Today, D. West helps homeless children and families.
In 1992, he rescued a trapped senior citizen from a burning car. In 1996, he was taken by helicopter to a trauma medical center after a paralyzing slip and fall accident. With extreme fortitude and resilience, two years later he was playing professional football. His time in the 40 yard dash was 4.40, that is serious horsepower.
D. West’s mother is his hero. In 2014, his mother passed unexpectedly, West was crushed. The trauma from his mother’s death moved him rapidly into a deep depression. D. West fell hard to the bottom of his dream ladder, he hit rock bottom emotionally and was officially homeless (6 years). However, he never stopped living for something greater than himself. He never stopped giving back or inspiring children in the community. In fact, West did the unthinkable. He drove 16 hours biweekly to mentor children in schools. His round trip commute, 32 plus hours.
D. West twirled hardship into gold. Some students he mentors will receive high school diplomas and associate degrees from community college when they graduate from high school in 2020. In addition, there are students who have already received their high school diploma’s and associate degree’s from college. Giving back warms the soul.
What’s profound, while homeless, D. West wrote five books that are used in schools to inspire children. During his toughest times in life, he gave free books to schools and children. D. West said “success is individual. Knowledge is power! If I can pass on what I have learned to children, our future leaders, I have done my job as a citizen. How much are we willing to give back or sacrifice during the most challenging periods of our lives? I’ve been tested.”
Nothing is impossible. You can achieve the unthinkable. You can defy the odds as long as you believe you can. If I can do it, you can too. Always remember my starting point in life: From poverty, despair, a special needs homeless student to first generation college graduate, to living my dreams and helping others. Your dreams are yours for life. Take advantage of opportunities, live life in your passion. See yourself being successful in the future. Focus on positives and solutions in life. Things can always be worse. Every storm passes. I'm standing at the top of my dream ladder again. I am no longer homeless. God is good! - D. West