Former gang member, shooting survivor hosts toy giveaway in Grand Crossing

Karen Jordan Image
Wednesday, November 30, 2022
Former gang member, shooting survivor hosts South Side toy giveaway
EMBED <>More Videos

Former gang member and ULON founder Pete Keller hosted a free toy giveaway in Grand Crossing, Chicago on the South Side.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Pete Keller is feeling festive, and it's not just because it's the holiday season.

"We have moved up, we have upgraded and expanded to a bigger location," Keller said.

Keller has a new space for ULON, which stands for "United Legion, One Nation." It's an organization he founded 8 years ago now located at 74th and Cottage Grove in the Grand Crossing neighborhood.

ULON is a resource center to help ex-offenders get back on their feet, and a safe haven for young people.

"We just want to give the community something to look forward to. So many of these young kids have gone by and banged on the window, 'I can't wait until you guys open up,'" Keller said.

Keller is celebrating ULON's growth with a toy giveaway, where families can also pick up clothes, toiletries and other supplies. Tawanda Coleman brought her 2-year-old granddaughter, Aliyah, to pick out some Christmas gifts.

'It's hard. Especially when a lot of people don't have a job and it's really tough," Coleman said.

Jasmine McPhee brought her daughter, Alayah, and said she's thankful for ULON's help.

"I'm a single parent, so that helps a lot for my girls this year," McPhee said.

Keller said he's lived the life of people he's trying to help. A former gang member and drug dealer, he did four stints in prison and survived a shooting.

"Some young kids, it was a drug deal gone bad. They were after somebody else. I caught some of the bullets. One in the head, which is still here to this day," Keller said.

Keller said he hopes ULON's continued outreach and will create positive change in the community.