Blind musician gives guitar money back to community

Eddie Maltsby Jr. went blind at age 11. That was back in 1973. For the past 32 years he's been on the street corners of downtown St. Petersburg playing his guitar for money.

"It's in me," he said about music.

On Friday, he was perched outside his usual spot at Central and 2nd Avenue South.

"I always enjoy listening to him," said Barry Morse, who manages the Detroit Liquors store at that intersection. "He brings a lot of smiles to people."

He's been blessed by donations over the years. Now, he's trying to bless his community back.

"You're listening to the Florida Blind Boy show on WRXB," he bellows into a microphone inside a tiny radio station study on 34th Street.

Maltsby has taken his music from the streets to the studio. He's taking the money from his own pocket and donating items to callers on his Saturday morning radio show, which runs from 8:30 to 9 on 1590 AM.

"If it wasn't for the community being a blessing to him, he couldn't be a blessing to somebody else," said his co-host, the Rev. James Davis.

He's giving so much that he's running out of money. But that won't keep him from try to give back to the community that gave him time on the corner.

"I have to take the phone away from my ear," said WRXB board operator Dianne Hughes. "People are screaming so loud. Like, 'Wow! I really won something'."

Maltsby has given away over $2,000 of his own money. He has sponsors for his show but the money is starting to run out. He's started a GoFund Me page to get extra donations that he can turn around and give back to the community that has a special place in his heart.

"I'm going to keep giving until I can't give any more," he said. "I mean, right now I'm giving where I can't give anymore so why stop?"


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