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'He was a marketing genius' 19-year-old Orioles concession star taken by gun violence

'He was a marketing genius' 19-year-old Orioles concession star taken by gun violence
Posted at 8:46 PM, Jul 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-09 23:09:55-04

BALTIMORE — In the first stall you walk by in Orioles Stadium there is a crew of is preparing for the thousands of fans who will soon take their seats for the Friday night game.

This is their field and they are preparing for game day with a huge hole in their lineup.

Troy Rush Jr. was the heart and soul of this team.

His gift for gab, infectious smile and innovative ideas quickly stood out to the higher ups when he pitched Seedy Nutty— the snack they make at the Food Project.

“Troy was explaining the snack to some of the people in corporate,” said Michelle Suazo. "He did such a great job they took him up to the main office to share this snack. He always says that’s because of him that we’re in here now, and that’s true. He had a very contagious personality.”

Suazo is the Executive Director of U Empower which runs the Food Project non profit in Southwest Baltimore.

For years they've brought in young people like Troy to teach them how to cook, and prepare them for the workforce.

“At the Food Project we hire the kids to feed their community,” Suazo said. “I can only hire so many. We have a lot that are taking care of themselves or ready to be on their own and looking for jobs. A lot of times there is hurdles in the way. This gave us an opportunity to give extra shifts and the kids love it.”

This crew worked alongside Troy, and just a few days after he was shot and killed its understandably still too raw to talk.

Behind the counter they kept their game face because they know that’s what Troy would want.

“I can’t compete a lot of times with what’s on the streets,” Suazo said. “I just do the best that I can to push forward. I will say this Troy loved being here so for the kids they might not really want to be working but because this is where Troy loved that’s why they are here tonight.”

Suazo remembers her last conversation with Troy.

He wanted to make sure he was on the schedule for every game this week.

“Before COVID we were hoping to get into Giant as well. He went with to the meeting with us. He had so much to contribute. They loved him as well. You think about all the kids that are just like passed over that have so many gifts. That’s what’s so crushing to lose Troy because he had so much to give.”

The Food Project is working with the Orioles to set up a tribute for Troy.

They are also setting up a fund for young daughter and his little boy that is on the way soon.

Police are calling on the community to help find Troy’s killer.

You can leave an anonymous tip with metro crime stoppers, their number is 1-866-7LOCKUP.

To learn more and support the food project so they can continue to help more kids clicks here.