OPELIKA, Ala.- Several years ago, Jody Fuller lost his black lab he owned for 15.5 years. After it happened, he began writing. Soon after, a local paper, the Opelika Observer asked Fuller to write for them. While with the paper, someone told him his work was really good, and he should submit it to Chicken Soup for the Soul.
Years later, Fuller is celebrating his sixth publication in the series. The most recent title is “The Power of Gratitude.”
Fuller was born in Opelika. He says he did not have much as a child, but he said it was enough to get by. Fuller said his parents instilled a tremendous work ethic in him and his brother. Fuller said his father was blind and a juvenile diabetic who passed away when Fuller was eight years old.
Fuller said in the 18 years he lived with his mother, he only saw her miss one day of work.
In addition to not having much as a child, Fuller also had to cope with a stutter.
“When I was really young, I thought it was a curse,” Fuller said.”Then, about 8th grade is when I really turned things around. I totally accepted it.”
Fuller urges folks to accept their perceived flaws because we all have them.
Back when Fuller was 19, he just finished his first quarter of college. He said he was at a point in life where he was not sure what direction he wanted to go in. An underage drinking charge would change his life forever. Fuller said the judge “laid the smackdown.”
We had to pick up trash for four straight weekends,” Fuller said. “We had to go to a school and all this kind of stuff. When I was 19 and 20, I wasn’t too grateful for that, but as an old man, I can appreciate it.”
Fuller took that appreciation and put pen to paper and wrote another story, which was published in the latest Chicken Soup for the Soul book. The section is called “Tough Love.”
Fuller went on to serve in the Army where he did three tours of duty in Iraq, and he is currently a major in the Army Reserves. Fuller is also a standup comic and public speaker.
Fuller says he will never take anything for granted in his life, and urges others to do the same. He also has another piece of advice for folks.
“Never give up,” Fuller said. “Life is going to throw you curve balls and you can either sit and look at that third strike or you can swing away, and I am going to swing away every time.”