BUFFALO, N.Y. — Some people have such a contagious laugh that you can't help but to smile too.
Meet 61-year-old Kevin Nowak and he's sure to infect you with some positivity, although he hasn't always been as happy as he is now.
"I backtrack at times and think about it, and it's not good," Nowak said.
Nowak has been put through the wringer within the last decade.
That's between a divorce, financial hardships and a major car accident on Kenmore and Englewood avenues in 2013.
"I got hit first and went flying over the car about 40 feet," Nowak said.
Nowak had to relearn to walk because of the accident, but even more painful was the love he lost.
"It's a part of me that I really don't have. My girlfriend, she got stuck under the car, and it was not a pretty site," Nowak said.
Nowak's girlfriend Sandy ultimately died from two heart attacks in Erie County Medical Center's emergency room.
All of his hardships simply became too much, until Nowak perfected a new craft that helped him to regain some hope.
"There's some of them. Checkbook covers, the coasters, place mats. It helps me keep myself focused," Nowak said.
Nowak has People Inc. to thank for it. It's a local organization that helps people with disabilities live independent, productive lives.
The staff there also taught Nowak how to make his designs that he sells at Daily Planet Coffee, in order to also help him pay some bills.
"I mean, it's amazing. Just to see the different steps he's made in his life and how he's growing and he's helping the community," said Chris Zienski, program director at People Inc.
While Nowak still has some tough days, he says he's now grateful.
"Things are for the better," Nowak said.
Such as sharing that laugh of his that was just waiting to be get out more.
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