I was born and raised in West Duluth, MN.

IMG_0895Duluth Minnesota is a slice of paradise and I have been blessed to have been raised here. We are surrounded by natural beauty and have lake views from almost anywhere in the city and access to one of the largest fresh water lakes in the world. We are a melting pot who make up a society of hard working and hard playing people.

I grew up in a neighborhood filled with kids playing sports and hide-and-seek until the church bells rang. The girls played right along with the boys and we never treated them any differently than us. This was mainly because a lot of the girls were better than the boys at a lot of the games.

We had our bullies growing up, but the older kids took care of the bullies with some “street justice”. We always looked out for each other and had each other’s back. There was a sense of “fair play” and we learned the rules of living in society from each other.IMG_0896

When I was in Iraq, I would often daydream of my home town, West Duluth, which was within the borders of the Ore Docks to the Zoo. I would think back to my neighbors and draw strength from their friendships to get through the horrors of war. I lost friends in Iraq and I suffered with not being able to sleep when I returned. I was angry and bitter from the war. I turned to drugs and alcohol to deal with it. My anger got worse and I was a danger to myself and those around me. I felt ashamed and sorry for myself.

My dad, Archie Horton Sr. was dying of cancer. Before he passed he asked me to promise him that I would quit the booze and drugs. In order to get me out of my funk, he also told me to give back to the community by getting in the gym to train kids. IMG_0897

I hurt some people from my neighborhood when I was drinking. As you can imagine, a drunk doesn’t make a reliable friend. I worked hard to earn their trust and friendship back and with time, I did. I made amends to those that I had wronged the best I could. 

My home town embraced my efforts and helped me continue my journey to “redemption”. The border of my town now expands past West Duluth to include the whole city of Duluth. 

Thank you for all the years of friendship and for helping me “come back home”. I was living in darkness and despair and you saved me.