Troy Wait’s medical records say he is blind, brain damaged, deaf and unable to read or write, according to an inscription on one of his two CDs.
“They told me he was totally brain damaged and that he’d never know me,” his mother, Sue Wait, said. “I said, ‘Well, I will know him,’ and I took him home.”
That all happened in 1970 when Troy was 9 months old. Now he is 47, has graduated from high school and college, according to Sue, has sung in more than 40 churches and has produced two CDs – “Get Ready For A Miracle” and “I’m A Winner Either Way.”
Both are available at Chuck Wait Tire, the store his older brother owns in Mowrystown.
Although he still can’t read or write, “I’m like a singing evangelist. I go wherever they want me to go,” Troy said. “I go in my room, put the CD player on and learn songs until I get it perfect.”
Recently, Troy won first place at the Whitetail Festival Talent Contest in Rarden.
For the first nine months of his life, Sue said, Troy was just like any other newborn. But then came a day in 1970 when she found him in his bed not breathing. He was rushed to a hospital. His temperature was taken three times and each time the thermometer read 109 degrees, Sue said. Troy was rushed to Children’s Hospital, being rubbed in alcohol the whole way there to keep his temperature down.
Troy was diagnosed with encephalitis.
In the years that followed, Troy struggled at various schools. But with help, his mother said, he graduated from Hillsboro High School in 1990 and then from the Christian Union Bible College in Greenfield, where he had help from a mentor.
When he was about 16, Sue took Troy to a Wilmington flea market. She said a gospel singer named Hoy Bussel was performing there and that Troy took a liking to a song Bussel sang called “Simon Simon.” Troy sang the song so much that Sue took him back to the flea market the next Sunday and Troy ended up singing the song for Bussel.
“He said, ‘Oh my God, that’s unbelievable. He sings like me more than I do,’” Sue said. “He said, ‘I can sing here all day and a few people show up, and Troy starts singing and a whole crowd shows up.’ If you’re not looking when they sing, you can’t tell the difference.”
Not long thereafter Troy started singing at churches at other places. He’s still doing it and is open to invitations.
“I’ve seen people get rebaptized and some get baptized for the first time. It happens every time when he sings,” Sue said. “I’ve seen whole churches cry. God’s definitely got a hold on him. He doesn’t like country music a lot. He says, “Mom, I want to sing for God.’”
Once, Sue said, someone offered to take Troy to Nashville to record his voice. But she said they wanted $3,000 to pay for a band to play with Troy and she couldn’t afford that after her husband, Paul, passed away.
“That was his daddy’s dream, to get him on stage at the Grand Ole Opry,” Sue said. “We haven’t made it yet, but if I live long enough, I hope to.”
Troy’s CDs can be purchased at Chuck Wait Tire. Sue said anyone interested in having Troy sing can call Chuck at the tire business to discuss details.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or on Twitter @13gillilandj.