A Homeless Veteran in Fort Wayne in Need of Assistance Finds Help
By Sharon Ray – Facility Operations Coordinator at The Richard Lugar Safe Haven
Work One called and said they had a homeless veteran who was sleeping under a bridge in Fort Wayne. He had walked into Work One to look for a job. I advised them to get him to the Veterans Affairs Homeless Team as soon as possible to refer him to our homeless shelter, The Richard Lugar Safe Haven, because even though we had beds available, they can fill rapidly. The time was 9:30 am.
At 11:25 am, Alondale Beau King walked into Safe Haven (our shelter for homeless veterans struggling with addiction) with a pair of boots, a small suitcase, a bike, and the clothes on his back. I saw his eyes actually glisten as he absorbed the surroundings. He saw the warm and welcoming lobby, the plants and the soft lighting. He was overwhelmed and mesmerized with this place and he had just barely walked in the door. We greeted him with kindness and welcomed him unconditionally. I asked if he was hungry and with a slight hesitation, he admitted that he was. As I took him to our dining room and explained our services for homeless veterans, I saw his excitement grow, especially when I mentioned he could do laundry here. Kerry made spaghetti for lunch and gave him a generous serving. As he received the food, he asked how much it cost! Kerry simply said...."It's free - there is no charge." His knees buckled.
He later told me that the night before he read a passage in his Bible that said, "Tomorrow you will be blessed." His tomorrow was today. It was great to see his eyes shine, and his face light up like a child at Christmas, reacting to all the wonderful gifts he just received.
This is why I love my job. Yes, there are the challenging clients such as the ones that feel entitled and try to work the system, but there are also clients like Alondale Beau King: a young, homeless veteran with nowhere to go.