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Bethlehem man helps Third-World schools and villages

Gregory Sheldon still hits up the festivals and concert circuits.

The only difference now is that instead of selling incense and macramE art to score tickets to the next show, he's sending the money to Ecuador and India to help fund ramshackle schools and improve the lives of some the world's poorest inhabitants.

Sheldon's physical journey may have brought him around the world, but his personal journey has brought him from a carefree adolescent with an affinity for the party scene to the 28-year-old humanitarian that he is today.

The death of his best friend, Eden Roe, in 2005 was a pivotal turning point in Sheldon's life and sparked the eventual creation of a non-profit organization that he has named The Eden's Rose Foundation.

Sheldon said it was not simply one event that changed his path in life, but more "a culmination" of events that include several friends dying " including Roe " and his sister being in a "horribly debilitating" accident.

An Albany native, Sheldon finished his junior and senior year of high school at Bethlehem Central.

"Growing up in Albany I didn't exactly fit in here I got into a lot of trouble," Sheldon said of his time in Bethlehem. "Me and my man Eden were talking a lot about philosophy and mathematics when all this stuff went down."

The experience of Roe's death proved to be traumatic for Sheldon.

"When Eden died, I don't know, that's where it all changed I think," he said. "I don't know what it was about that church but I started going to the Unionville Methodist Church. There were only about 15 of 20 people there, but I would drive in from Albany and sit in the back."

It wasn't long before the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina settled in that a congregant Chuck Phillips told Sheldon, "We're going down to Mississippi."

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