Arnie: Fire Walker

Arnie. Faces of the Festival 2017. Photo by Steven Meckler

I came to Tucson 22 years ago from Hawaii. I was living in a rain forest near the lava crack I was gonna be buried in and out of a plane window Oak Creek Canyon called me. I left my children, my ex wife, everything I knew, and came here. I’ve been here 22 years. My children have been reunited with me here, as well as my ex wife—we’re good friends. I’ve built 25 years of working as a domestic violence counselor and substance abuse counselor and worked 10 years in the prison with the hardest core people. Tucson’s taught me to come from the heart. That’s what I do the best, come from the heart and help people break through their difficulties that they put walls up around to get back in touch with their heart and learn how to cry and learn how to feel. Those that were criminals learn how to give back from what they’ve taken. My nickname on the street is “Fire Walker.” You walk with me we’re gonna walk through fire, but you’ll never have the same walk again and I’ll never leave you hanging. I’ll take you all the way in and all the way out. I believe Tucson is a vortex, just as Hawaii was—a mixture of good and evil. There’s a balance here of both extremes. I believe I was called for my purpose here.

-Arnie