I Made It
2/4/2012 12:00 AM
Paul* spent nearly two long years homeless, moving between shelters and living in his car. He finally came to Hope House in October 2011, homeless, jobless, yet determined.
Paul had a steady job managing a program at Home Depot, until a downturn in the economy caused Home Depot to discontinue his program. Shortly after being laid off, Paul got into an accident that put him in the hospital and out of the labor market for six months. By the time he was released from the hospital, he had no resources to support himself, and no job prospects.
Paul found himself living in his car, in and out of shelters, but never being able to quite make it up for air before he sunk back down again. He found part time jobs, but never full time jobs. Even with his management experience, he could not secure a steady, well paying job. Throughout this struggle, throughout nights spent sleeping outside in the cold Wisconsin winter, Paul never lost hope.
“Young trees become stronger after being whipped around by the wind,” Paul told me. He viewed the hard times, the valleys, in his life as opportunities to grow stronger.
Paul shared his wisdom not only with staff and guests at Hope House, but with his speed skating team. Paul has coached world class speed skaters for 25 years, teaching and supporting world record holders. He shares his positive, persevering attitude with young skaters, helping them earn athletic scholarships, gold medals, and an unfaltering optimistic outlook on their lives.
At the end of January 2012, Paul looked at Hope House staff, smiled and proclaimed, “I made it,” as he prepared himself to finally move into his own apartment. He had found a full time job that would allow him to pay his bills and live comfortably. Through his own hard work and the support and dedication of Hope House staff, Paul found his way out of homelessness.
There’s a motto that Paul has written for himself and his speed skaters. He lives by these words: “Enjoy the journey, decide the results, and you will mount up with wings like eagles and soar above all you thought was but a dream.”
If you would like to help homeless men and women like Paul, please consider donating to Hope House, or contact Amanda at fergusona(at)hopehousemke(dot)org.
*Name changed for privacy.