When Tim had no place to live, City Gospel Mission was there. Grateful for that, he is giving back as a volunteer, helping other shelter guests get acclimated to the Mission.
Staff helped Tim find a place of his own and he moved out of the shelter after 4 months. Now he rides his motorized scooter 3 miles to the Mission, Monday through Friday. After a manufacturing accident 25 years ago, when an 800-pound beam fell on his right leg, he eventually needed amputation below the knee in 2005.
He has limited mobility but not a limited spirit. That shows when he volunteers welcoming new shelter guests. He shows them around, goes over rules, and answers questions.
“When they come in, they think that there’s no hope. But I tell them, ‘If you pray, God will set you in the right direction.’ The first thing they want to do is take a hot shower. It’s like a whole new beginning. That cleanses the outside, then we work on spiritually cleansing the inside.”
Tim said new guests are usually hungry.
“They ask, ‘What time is dinner?’ I say ‘Don’t worry, there’s plenty. Get a good meal, hot shower, a nice soft place to sleep and you’ll feel a lot better in the morning.’ And they do.”
The guests listen to this 67-year-old Marine Corps veteran who served in Vietnam because he has been in their shoes. “I just talk with them. Sometimes that’s all they want, someone to listen.”
“This is how you give back to people who have helped you tremendously. There are so many people here that have touched my life. They taught me patience, how to care for others. I feel like I have somewhere I belong.”
Originally from New York, Tim has no family in Cincinnati. In August, he was hit by a truck while riding his scooter. He wasn’t able to volunteer for 3 weeks while he recovered and had his chair fixed. When he returned to the Mission, he received a card signed by staff.
“It brought me to tears. It just meant the world to me. This is my family. It’s something I never had before. It’s just an amazing feeling to have people that love you.”
Thank you for helping Tim not only overcome homelessness, but also find purpose helping others do the same.