September 28, 2016
Just four weeks ago I met a gentleman who was down on his luck, with courage like a lion and the heart of pure gold. He had picked up his pride and dragged himself into our shelter to ask for help — something he had never needed to do before. Clearly a man with a story to tell, having lost his housing due to unhealthy conditions, camping with severe diabetes and finally making the decision to get himself help. He had holes in his shoes that offered little support for the feet that walked him miles and miles up and down the coast of Maine. He had to cut spaces for his toes to fit because the shoes he had were four sizes too small. He was hungry, shaky and made no eye contact. He was scared of the unknown and rightfully so.
This man made calls daily advocating for himself utilizing the skills he had gained as a father of four and mill worker for 30 plus years. This man attended several appointments and met with landlords. He attended these appointments with tears in his eyes, dirty, hungry, exhausted and hopeless. His dedication to bettering himself landed him a small place in town that will allow for him to remain a prime member of the community. One thing still needed attention, those shoes.
With our “Wish List Wednesday” posting on Facebook and the donations from caring community members, this man was able to get the shoes that would carry his now confident, clean, and uplifted body wherever he needed to go.
I was able to drop off these shoes today, with tears of joy and the inability to find words to explain his feelings the shoes where put on, one foot at a time with the most perfect fit. In that moment, I made eye contact with this man for the first time, I got a firm handshake and heard the mumbled words “thank you so much.” Today in this man’s new HOME, our community was able to HELP restore HOPE.
Photograph and story by Chase Philbrick.
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