A classically-trained piano player now finds himself homeless in Tampa Bay. But he's not giving up on his gifts and dreams. In fact, he's sharing his talents and inspiring others, despite his circumstances.
Charlie Gilmer loves to play piano, and several times a week, he performs everything from Eric Clapton to Frederic Chopin.
Gilmer's been tickling the ivories for as long as he can remember,
"I started playing by ear at age three or four, and then started playing by note around nine years old," he said.
His talents helped him earn a master's degree in music performance and he's even played at Carnegie Hall. But now, he finds himself playing before a much different audience: the homeless.
"I believe it's our responsibility to give back to people who are less fortunate. Give them a sense of hope," Gilmer said.
It's something he knows the value of personally, because Charlie Gilmer is homeless.
He's been eating regularly at non-profit Trinity Cafe. And when Trinity opened up a second location to feed the hungry inside the church where he plays piano, Gilmer started sharing his gift with his peers.
"They're some of my biggest motivators. They get me going. They help me forget about my problems," said Gilmer.
And with each note, he's inspiring each person listening, to keep the faith and not give up on their dreams, no matter the circumstances they face.
"In Jesus' name, I can do all things. You know, he gave you that passion. He doesn't give you talents that don't bear fruit," GIlmer said.
And Gilmer's not giving up on his dream to make music a full-time career. He offers piano lessons and performs at weddings and other events. One day, he hopes to earn his doctorate in music.
You can learn more on his Facebook page, "Piano Man Charlie G".