Michael Thomas was born on July 5th, 1974 in Lake Providence, Louisiana. His family moved to Milwaukee when he was six. He has transformed himself and his life to help better the community.
Thomas was always bigger and stronger than all the other kids in his grade. Starting in elementary school through tenth grade, he used his size and aggression to hide the fact that he couldn't read or write. In tenth grade, he got kicked out of high school for behavioral issues. From then on, Thomas had been in and out of trouble with the law. At the age of 23, Thomas was shot and paralyzed. This was the defining moment for him. He wanted to get his life back together. In 2003 he got his GED, in 2005 his HSED, and in 2007 he got a degree in Business Economics.
After being released from prison, Thomas went to stay at his sister's house in Milwaukee because it was the only home in the family at the time that was wheel chair accessible. He stayed at his sister's for a few months, but it quickly grew overwhelming and cramped inside the home. Thomas decided to move out and found a small economy apartment in the south side of Milwaukee where he lived for two years. Then, he moved onto the corner of Capitol & Humboldt, where he lived for ten years.
His friend told him about ACTS Housing. Thomas contacted ACTS and started the process of filling out paper work and finding a house. Thomas says "it was very easy...it was as simple as filling out an application." When asked why he chose his current house he responded, "I got a sister ...[who] stays about nine blocks in both directions." Thomas figured that it would be good for him to choose a home that was close to his family. Because he was in a wheelchair, he was able to apply for a special no-interest grant that paid for a wheelchair accessible ramp and bathroom remodeling.
Thomas has started a business called "Thomas Enterprises." It is a pay-it-forward program that focuses on inner-city kids who get into trouble at school. He wants to take those kids and match them up with kids from performing schools, and set up a Big/Little brother and sister program.
Michael Thomas, Interviewed by Nicholas Teresi, June 2016