KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – “If you had a problem – first of all he wanted to know how you were doing – and if you had a problem he had scripture to go with that problem,” said Director of Knoxville Pays it Forward (KPIF), Kim Cantrell.
Cantrell met Daryl Butler, the victim in Sunday’s horrific crash, roughly six-years ago under the bridge on N. Broadway near Volunteer Ministry Center (VMC). Cantrell came in contact with Daryl through community outreach work with people experiencing homelessness.
“And he told me to get rid of my scowl — that I had the most beautiful smile down there, that’s our first meeting,” said Cantrell.
Working on a more permanent housing situation was a goal for Daryl, who Cantrell said worked diligently for the past year to get into housing at VMC.
VMC confirming Daryl had persevered to achieve that goal just a few weeks ago.
“Unfortunately his ride was a bit of a rollercoaster ride and unfortunately there were times he was homeless,” Cantrell said. “One time he stood up for tenants rights and he lost his housing over that, his attitude never changed he was always positive, always.”
“I’m proud of him,” said Daryl’s son Mark Butler. “He’s had some ups and downs and some challenges.”
Mark shared with WATE on the phone Tuesday how his father left North Carolina for Tennessee nearly 20 years ago after a divorce.
“His smile was extraordinary, I mean he lived in the mission in transition to getting housing but his heart was in a mansion,” said Mark.
“The whole community, it could be homeless it could be people at the towers, it could be KARM, it could be VMC… because he was lovable,” Cantrell said. “He was approachable and he cared about others. I promise you this is a major loss for our city.”