TOPEKA (KSNT) — A Topeka man is showing your past does not define your future after he was given a second chance at life, thanks to a familiar figure.
Manny Herron is the owner of many real estate businesses in Topeka, like Haus Property Partners. It’s a company that manages residential properties for landlords and rental companies, as well as helping people find places to rent in the city. But his journey to becoming a business owner was not as easy as it seems.
“I wasn’t planning on coming to Topeka,” Herron said. “I was actually going to Florida.”
Herron grew up in Kansas City, Kansas. He saw many things in life, like gang violence and more.
One day, when he was moving to Chicago to be with his dad and get away from it all, he got devastating news. Someone shot and killed his brother.
“My heart just fell into my feet,” he said. “I had so much resentment, so much regret, and I was just broken.”
He came back to Kansas City but once he was back, he turned to the streets. He was selling and making drugs, trafficking around different states, which then got him behind federal prison bars at the age of 19.
“I’m being indicted by the federal government for drug trafficking crimes,” he said. “And I’m 19 years old. I’m getting sentenced to 15 to life. I’m like…this is surreal.”
Herron served 10 years in prison until he got a message that someone was helping him get out. President Barack Obama released him after Herron applied for a pardon. He then made his way through Topeka, eventually settling here to help make the city better, opening real estate businesses like Haus.
“Taking this broken structure and making it great again,” he said. “Just like my story, just like my life.”
Herron’s message to everyone: don’t give up no matter where you start in life. It’s always up to you to get up and do better.
While Herron was in prison, he spent time learning how to read and learning a different language. He said when he was incarcerated, he only knew how to read at a second or third-grade level. He now speaks Spanish, which helps him communicate with clients who may not speak English as a first language.