From Marion to Murphy, Columbus to Newland, Western North Carolina is expansive. Carolina Public Press’ We are WNC feature profiles Western North Carolinians, in photographs and their own words, who share what it means to live in Western North Carolina, offer insight into our collective and solitary lives, highlight personal and community successes and struggles, and showcase our region’s uniqueness and commonality. We are WNC explores the themes, ideas and experiences that connect us to and with our mountain region.

By Mike Belleme, contributing photographer, and Kristen Molina-Nauert, contributing audiographer

After years of drug-dealing and homelessness, Harold Gibson now lives in an apartment in Asheville, N.C., with his fiance Rhonda Lytle. Harold and Rhonda are both living with HIV, and receive groceries and personal-care items from Loving Food Resources (LFR). Born in Queens, New York, Harold recently spoke to Carolina Public Press about his life story.

Kristen Molina-Nauert is a contributing reporter and audiographer for Carolina Public Press. Contact her at

Mike Belleme

Mike Belleme is a contributing photographer for Carolina Public Press. Contact him at

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