If you reside in the Hanford area, chances are you have had the pleasure of an encounter with Mr. Tyree Reed. Maybe you’ve seen him walking around town, at a shopping center, or Thursday night market during the summer. Wherever it was, I am sure he blessed you! Tyree walks around with his Bible tucked under his arm and approaches everyone to say “God bless you” and usually shakes their hand.
I have always wondered what his background was. What drove him to be such a purely kindhearted person with an unvarying love of God? Recently, I had the chance to sit down and spend some time with this precious soul, sip some coffee and listen to his story.
During our visit I learned that Tyree was born on Aug. 26, 1976 in Compton, Calif. He was born prematurely with a weight of only 4 pounds and pulmonary complications. The doctors did not think he was going to make it. When he recovered, the doctors told his mother it seemed like there had been a miracle. I, for one, believe there truly was. There is no doubt in my mind that God had a plan when he put this man on earth.
Tyree lived in Southern California with his mother, step father and sister until he was 3 years old. His parents decided to uproot the family and move to Hanford, where they had relatives. Although Tyree was raised in church as a child, he did not accept Jesus into his life till the age of 24. Tyree told me he was “on a path of destruction” when his sister came to him one day and asked him if he wanted to be saved. He replied “yes” and from that day forward Tyree plunged himself into reading and studying the word of God. Tyree told me “when God saved me, Amen! It was like a light bulb turned on. Because before I gave my life to Christ, Amen! My life was so dark”
Today, Tyree lives with his mother, sister, two nieces and nephew. He starts his day with reading scripture, praying, then getting ready for whatever the rest of the day has in store for him. He started attending college in the spring of 2008 and is currently enrolled in classes twice a week. He says he has “a lot of homework” and is working on a degree in history. Tyree already holds several degrees in various subjects. I asked him what his plan was and how he wanted to use his education.
"Whatever God wants me to do, Amen! I just want to be educated," he said.
Tyree attends church on Sunday morning and usually Thursday nights as well. In his free time Tyree enjoys walking around town, going to different stores, treating himself to lunch and visiting friends and family. Everywhere he goes he likes to let people know about Jesus. That in itself is what he most enjoys and feels is the best part of his day.
I asked Tyree how COVID affected him, being that he is so social and likes to shake hands with everyone when he blesses them and spreads the good word. He told me it affected him a little but he just kept on doing what he always does. He kept on spreading the “good news of the gospel,” kept on telling people “God bless you,” kept on telling people “Jesus loves you."
“Whatever God put in my heart, I kept telling people. I did not let COVID stop me because God is greater than COVID, Amen,” he said.
To answer a few questions I received from people curious about Tyree's life —Tyree’s favorite drinks are sweet tea, lemonade and Sprite. He likes to eat at La Fiesta, the Rice Bowl and Black Bear. He considers his biggest challenge in life to be the times when he was sick and unable to go out and spread the word of God. He considers his biggest achievements graduating college, getting saved and being “filled with the Holy Ghost.”
I have seen some people react hesitantly at times when Tyree approaches them. You may not have the same beliefs as he does, and that is perfectly OK. Just know he always has the best intentions in his heart and truly cares for everyone and hopes they are blessed in life. This world would be a much better place if we only had more people like Tyree.
Tyree’s message to everyone is, “Jesus loves you, Amen! Have faith in God.”