His love for cooking started when he was only five years old.
Alanzo Soberanis watched his mother cook and knew from that moment that his job would be to master the art when he grew up.
He started working at age 16 and by the time he was 47 he was working at The Left Bank, one of York’s finest restaurants.
But that was all taken away as a neurological disorder gradually destroyed his motor skills.
Now, Soberanis is homeless and fighting for the Social Security Administration to keep his heart fluttering and essential tremors prevent him from working.
Masks in Dad. schools: Court throws away Governor Tom Wolf’s mandate
The life of a culinary
Cooking runs in the family.
Soberanis spent 35 years in the restaurant industry in a variety of roles including line chef, busboy, waiter, sous chef, and has even worked in management positions.
He worked with his mother, Deadrea Barry, who was a restaurant manager and had her own catering business.
“I can never do what Lonny does,” said Barry, “he’s a chef and I’m a cook. There’s a difference.”
In his last 17 years in the restaurant industry, he worked as a sous chef at the center of The Left Bank, a fine dining restaurant where steak, salmon and scallops are no stranger to the menu, but Soberanis admits that comfort food is his specialty.
“He was amazing,” said Chef Sean Arnold, the owner of The Left Bank. “He was a great person to deal with.”
Soberanis’ passion for work was so intense that in recent years he lived at The Left Bank across the street from the restaurant.
“I was always on point,” Soberanis said, “I was a workaholic.”
But as the years went on, he dropped things, tripped and fell and lost his breath. He didn’t realize that the problems he was having were the result of an underlying condition.
The clock began to tick towards the end of his profession.
Winter danger:PennDOT still needs hundreds of plow drivers to clear snow and ice
Doctors advised him to stop working
In 2018, Soberanis went in and out of hospitals after chest pain and continued loss of breath.
“It felt like my heart was trying to jump out of my chest while someone was sitting on it,” Soberanis said.
After coping with the pain for a while, his doctor diagnosed him with palpitations, arthritis, and later diagnosed Soberanis with an essential tremor disorder.
“I definitely started to struggle in my profession because I would have episodes while I was at work,” said Soberanis.
He started to stutter, his hands shook uncontrollably and he lost his balance more often. A major concern was that he hurt himself while cooking.
Finally, his doctor advised him to stop working and Soberanis had to hang up his apron at the age of 47.
Greetings to the service: Nearly half of the men in this York County high school class served during Vietnam
The battle for disability benefits
Soberanis hired a lawyer to apply for disability benefits, but was denied benefits three times.
He had a scheduled court hearing that was over the phone. His lawyer asked for the hearing to be postponed until Soberanis would take his job capacity test scheduled for next week.
The request was rejected.
Soberanis was denied benefits because he was believed to have the functional ability to perform sedentary work while sitting for most of his workday, according to a letter sent to him by the Social Security Administration.
The government decision states that he is able to frequently lift and carry 10 pounds, sit for four hours, stand for three hours and walk for two hours in an eight-hour workday, while occasionally using his hands and feet. used.
“Of all my doctors who told me not to work, the judge told me I can find work by pushing buttons,” Soberanis said.
Some days are better than others. However, Soberanis failed his function capacity test.
He is currently awaiting the appeals court to decide his case.
“I’ve been working since I was 16 years old. I’ve been working in the restaurant business all my life,” Soberanis said, “I don’t know how to do anything else. I just want to cook.”
Follow the money: Learn how COVID relief funds were provided in York County
Homelessness and the help of family
After three years without an income, going back and forth between court dates and hospitals, Soberanis is now homeless.
He doubles up with his younger brother who has given Soberanis permission to bring his cat, Luna, who has been by his side through everything.
“I was offered other places to stay, but I couldn’t bring my cat and she is my therapy,” Soberanis said, “I’ve had her for five years and we both need each other.”
Although his mother is retired and has a limited income, she helps where she can. She helps pay for his utilities.
“You make sacrifices for your children,” Barry said, “however old they are.”
His sister pays for his phone so he can stay up to date, including his SSD enclosure and SNAP benefits.
Soberanis doesn’t drive, so family and close friends take him where he needs to go.
But he does not know where he will be next year, pending the decision of the appeals committee.
If his case is approved, it gives a sense of normalcy.
“I’ll feel like a man again,” Soberanis said, “I’ll be able to be in my own place.”
Katia Parks is concerned with public safety. Reach her at [email protected]