Black History Month: In their own words (Part IV)

Meet Marcus Porter: The Denver Water meter shop team member shares his story and the experiences that have shaped his life.

February 25, 2019 | By: Missy Yoder

Black History Month is an opportunity to honor the achievements, culture and contribution black people have made to our society, both past and present. Denver Water is proud of our diverse workforce, and we asked Marcus Porter, a meter technician, to share what being black means to him.

I’ve been at Denver Water for three years and I’m a meter tech.

Everyone on my team knows I’m a big joker. I laugh and smile a lot. Working here has been a great opportunity for me.

I grew up in Pennsylvania in a large family, where I was the youngest of 11 kids.

Marcus Porter, wearing a sweatshirt with a Denver Water logo, smiles for the camera in an office.
Marcus Porter, a meter technician for Denver Water. Photo credit: Denver Water.

 

My parents, Baxter and Margarett Porter, were from Mississippi and moved north to Pennsylvania in the early 1950s. While we didn’t have much, my parents worked hard to see that we had enough. Dad worked handyman jobs and Mom stayed home taking care of all of us kids.

My family taught me first and foremost that faith is the cornerstone and the most important thing in my life.

My mom was a spiritual giant in our community. She taught us that no matter what, we must love our neighbors and live by the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Mom taught us good morals, strong values and how to take care of ourselves.

She was smart and practical. She focused on things like cleanliness, how to earn a good living, how to cook and how to have goals. My mom taught us to always be proud of ourselves, in all circumstances, and she showed us that by keeping God first, all things were possible.

To this day I believe that.

A black woman with short hair looks directly at the camera.
Margarett Porter taught her children “good morals, strong values and how to take care of ourselves.” Photo credit: Marcus Porter.

 

My grandfather was a proud man and a strong man with a good reputation.

He never had issues with people disrespecting him, because he carried himself in a respectful way. Other people respected him for that. My grandfather taught my dad to be like him and I’m proud that my dad raised me to be like him.

My son is 16 and I’ve tried to teach him the lessons I learned. Put your faith first. Be a good man. Accept responsibility when you make mistakes, especially because trying to justify what you’ve done uses more energy! Respect your elders. Be a forward thinker. Keep a goal in mind. I think all these things are important.

In Pennsylvania, I grew up in a diverse and family-oriented neighborhood. My neighbors were African-American, white, Hispanic, Puerto Rican and Cuban. I remember some neighborhoods had Irish and Italian people too. The whole city was diverse. It had its ups and downs, and there were times when it was a little racist and people called me and my friends names. But those things happened only occasionally.

As a family we always came together every year at Christmas. It was good to see everyone and share stories. I always remember it as a special family time.

A black man in a suit setands in a parking lot, holding his hat in his right hand.
Baxter Porter was “a proud man and a strong man with a good reputation.” Photo credit: Marcus Porter.

 

I came to Colorado in my early twenties because my older brother lives here. I spent about a year here before moving back to Pennsylvania. I lived in Washington, D.C., for a couple of years, then went back home again before moving to Colorado in 1999 because the job market was better.

I’ve been here ever since. Colorado offers a lot of different things to do, especially with outdoor activities and sports.

One thing people might not know about me is that I’m an actor. I did a church play back in 2005, and then a student film the next year. I’ve done voice-over work and a couple of commercials. I try to do acting projects as much as I can. It’s fun and you get to meet people.

I’m a deacon at my church, Friendship Baptist Church, and involved with a ministry at the Denver Rescue Mission, where we feed homeless people and spend time talking with them.

The work is important to me because I want to encourage people. I remind them that even though their situation seems hopeless, it’s not over until it’s over and you can trust God to bring you out of this valley.

When people don’t get encouragement, they’re like a flower that never gets the rain, sun or nourishment needed to open and show its beauty. If you’ve been beat down for a long time, you close. I don’t want that to happen.

I’ve experienced difficulties in my life, and I got through it with the grace of God. I was only 22 when my dad died, and it was tough for all of us. But our faith got us through it, and we got through it together. We all will experience trials and tribulations, but I believe they will make us stronger.

We all fall short sometimes. But I’ve stayed on the path my mom set years ago, keeping the morals and values she taught us.

A commercial for milk, starring Marcus Porter.

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