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Former Gang Member Now Sings Hymns for Hospital Patients

Enrique Rodriquez from Central Jersey, left behind a life of crime and violence after turning to religion. He is now a phlebotomist at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, where he’s become famous for his musical talent.

In 2009, Rodriguez started getting involved in gangs to fill the emotional void left when his eldest brother went to jail. In search of what he calls “the wrong kind of family,” and easy money, he joined the local Bloods gang, where he remained a member for three years.

Rodriguez said, “The gang lifestyle is pure manipulation. They make you feel like they care about you, that they’ve got your back, that you are family; but all they do is use you so they don’t have to get their hands dirty.”

Criminal life began to lose its luster for Rodriguez after he crossed the “wrong person,” which resulted in two attempts on his own mother’s life by a rival gang seeking retribution. The assailants were eventually detained, and his mother survived—a fact Rodriguez attributes to God.

He said, “I have done a lot of bad things and mixed with a lot of bad people. I’m just grateful God looked out for me and my family. He has given me the opportunity to start a new life, and music is a huge part of that.”

The former Bloods member quickly sought out a job working at the hospital, where in 2012, he got a housekeeping position. After a year, he finished care training for patients in ICU. He is now a phlebotomist shuttling virus and blood samples to labs. Over the course of his nine years working at the hospital, he revealed his hidden musical talent, teaching himself to play the piano and the guitar.

After he started singing, playing the piano, and the guitar for critically-ill patients in the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit, he started recording his music sessions. He started posting his video hymns on TikTok, where he has garnered over 80,000 followers.

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