A month ago he was homeless. Then his friends intervened

Friends intervene to help TX homeless man

Last Updated Oct 25, 2019 8:36 PM EDT

 Austin, Texas — Life has its ups and downs, but rarely do you see a swing as dramatic as what 66-year-old Coy Featherston just went through.

"I'm speechless sometimes because of how it happened," he said.

Coy, who used to work as a concert lighting director and graphic artist, says he still hasn't fully processed his good fortune. 

"I was beginning to lose hope," Coy said.  

A month ago he was homeless. Now he's here. How does that happen? 

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Coy Featherston, 68, who has been homeless since 1995, sits with all his belongings at his camping spot on Guadalupe Street and West 21st Street in the west campus neighborhood on Tuesday September 10, 2019.  JAY JANNER/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

"It was just through friends. They started coming from everywhere," Coy said.

"I figured I could find him," said Leea Mechling.

Leea was his first blast from the past. She started looking for Coy after seeing his picture in the local Austin, Texas, newspaper. Leea says if not for the caption, she would have never recognized her high school friend — the talented football player who was once voted "Best All-Around Boy."

Coy was everyone's friend — which is why Leea felt compelled to return the kindness.

"And I came and looked here at this church," Leea said.

After three days of searching, she found him right here.

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Coy Featherson, Leea Mechling and Pat Judd  Courtesy of Coy Featherson

"I said, 'Hi, Coy, it's Leea, do you remember me?' And he said, 'Of course I do!'" Leea recalled.

"I was relieved because it was someone that I knew," Coy said. 

And it wasn't just Leea.

"It's really shocking when you find that an old friend that you've known is living in your same town on the street," said Paul Judd. 

All these old friends saw the same picture in the paper and had the same response.

"Yeah, I got him a phone and put him on my cellphone plan," said J.D. Allen. 

"Get him some dental work done. We got his Social Security done," said Pat Judd. 

"He lives with me. He can stay there as long as he wants," said Don Vanderburg. 

"Whatever it takes, we're going to turn him around," said Pat Judd. 

Fortunately, his friends say Coy doesn't have any drug or alcohol problems. They say he ended up on the streets of Austin after a series of unfortunate events and some mental health issues. And once he started spiraling, there was just no crawling out on his own.

"I don't know if I'd really gotten through it without my friends. Make friends now," Coy said.

"You may need them some day. You may be glad that you have them – because it can happen to anyone." 

A friendly reminder, from one of the richest men on earth. 

To contact On the Road, or to send us a story idea, email us: OnTheRoad@cbsnews.com.  

  • Steve Hartman
    Steve Hartman

    Steve Hartman has been a CBS News correspondent since 1998, having served as a part-time correspondent for the previous two years.