Sitting on the couch in his dimly lit living room, television muted, police scanner turned on and a spunky dog on his lap, Alvie "Little Man" Bemount Jr., 58, watches the evening news. He keeps the volume on the scanner turned up.
"It keeps me occupied," he says.
As he does every weekday, Little Man went to the Senior Center at Heritage Place earlier that morning, unlocked the door, made the coffee and ensured that the center was ready for the day.
The Senior Center at Heritage Place, which is owned and managed by the Housing Authority of Morehead, plays an important role in Little Man's life. It is open Monday through Friday and provides meals to seniors age 60 and older and to disabled people both at Heritage Place and in Rowan County. Little Man eats lunch at the center every weekday.
At 11:30 a.m., Glenna Crockett, the center director, stands up and announces, "All right, let's say the pledge!" and the people gathered in the dining room all face the American flag and recite the Pledge of Allegiance. When the center closes at 4 p.m., Little Man returns to his apartment.
Born and raised in Illinois, Little Man found his way to Kentucky with a buddy in the 1980s. With his family still living in Illinois, Little Man finds a sense of home through the community where he lives. Little Man got his nickname from a friend who decided they were the pairing of "Big Man" and "Little Man" as in the movie "Little Big Man." Ever since, everyone calls him Little Man.
While Little Man must use an electric wheelchair, he does what he can to take care of himself. He had a stroke and a heart attack at the same time, causing his need for the chair, which he got in 2014.
"I've died seven times and come back," says Little Man, who has undergone multiple life-saving surgeries and procedures.
Little Man spent his life as a laborer and worked hard for what he got. He wears a cowboy hat every day, adorned with fabric appropriate to the season. His long, white hair brushes his shoulders.
"Somewhere along the line I'm half Indian," Little Man says with a slight Mexican accent. "I don't know which one I've got; it's either Comanche or Cherokee."
When he goes home, he is greeted by an energetic, 1-year-old dog named Molly, his first indoor dog. He prides himself on how well-behaved Molly is and how quickly he trained her. Molly is a chiweenie — a chihuahua and dachshund mix.
"She don't mess with nothin'," Little Man says as Molly sniffs around the furniture. Then Molly brings her toys to him to play.