NELSON Mandela Myers, who was hailed as a hero last year for rescuing an abducted child, has used part of his $10,000 reward money from the city to start a business aimed at helping others.
Myers and his wife, Janie, have formed Phila Jobs, a staffing agency that connects workers with employers and provides job seekers with the tools they need, like free Microsoft Office and resume-writing classes.
"It wasn't until Nelson received the reward money, he said, 'I want to take a portion of that money and give back,' " Janie Myers said. "We actually came up with the idea to start a staffing agency."
In the early-morning hours of Jan. 15, 2013, as Myers was walking in Upper Darby to catch the bus to his job as a sanitation worker, he found a 5-year-old girl dressed only in a T-shirt, shivering in a playground.
"I will never forget that day," he said. "Just going past the playground always triggers it in my head."
He dialed 9-1-1 and discovered that all of Philadelphia was looking for the child. The girl had been abducted the previous day from Bryant Elementary School in West Philly. A worker at an after-school program she attended eventually was charged in the abduction.
The day he found the child, Myers was promised a $10,000 reward from the city, but the city didn't cut him a check until the Daily News reported that Myers was still waiting for his money.
Since then, the Myers family has been able to use a portion of the money to move into a nicer home, buy a cellphone and start their business.
"Ten thousand dollars is not a whole lot of money, but we worked every penny out of that money and put it to good use," Janie Myers said.
In September, the couple adopted the two foster children they've raised for three years, Michia, 6, and Gary, 4. After the adoption, Gary Myers took his father's famous middle name.
"It was a beautiful feeling; now we have a full circle," Nelson Myers said. "It was just me and my wife at first, and now we have a full circle."
Myers, who has retained his full-time job as a sanitation worker, said he wants to give people a chance to better themselves through his new company. Phila Jobs also works with people with criminal backgrounds who find it difficult to get employment.
When asked why a couple so young - Nelson is 28 and Janie is 26 - have adopted two children, saved the life of a third and started a business aimed at helping the unemployed, Janie Myers said: "It's better to give than receive."
"It really is true, just try it," she said. "Try doing something nice for someone else besides yourself. It keeps you positive, it keeps you on the straight and narrow."
Phila Jobs will holding its first job fair from 1 to 3 p.m. April 5 at the North American Motor Inn, on City Avenue near Belmont.
For more information, visit www.PhilaJobsInc.com.