The story we are about to share with you really hit me in the gut for a couple of reasons.
When I got out of the military many years ago I was working in the town I grew up in and living in a small pay by the week resort cabin that I had got on a long term basis until I figured out more permanent living arrangements. The owners were friends of a friend’s parents so I got the break even rate since there were not going to be anyone there after Labor Day anyway.
When I wasn’t working, on the weekends I would sit at the little beach area that they had and chat with some of the people that were coming up for their vacations. One of these sets of people was a family of five folks that had booked their little cabin for a solid week.
For the first day or so I would sit and talk with them when I wasn’t at my job and then one morning I get a knock on the door from one of them. A family member from out of state had a medical emergency and they were going to be cutting their vacation short. What I didn’t know is that they had bought groceries for a week for five people, and they were going to give it to me so they didn’t just have to throw it away.
I was making at the time enough money to pay for the place to live and about maybe a hundred dollars left over at the time. So groceries was a definite budget decision at that point. They gave me enough to feed myself comfortably for a month. I never forgot that….
Air Force veteran Ron Hyde stood in his near-empty apartment, a used mattress and a $25 dollar pink thrift store chair making up most of his belongings. Though his possessions were few, Hyde was thankful he had a place to live.
Hyde had just decided to end his chemotherapy treatments. Not knowing how much time he had left, he wanted to enjoy it without all the stress that accompanies chemo.
Tears welled in his eyes as he sat in his naked apartment, contemplating death. It was a difficult, uncomfortable topic, a fear that Hyde believes we all struggle with from time to time.
But a trip to Goodwill to purchase his $25 dollar pink chair took an unexpected turn, lifting the veteran’s spirits as a community rallied around him.
Hyde had just purchased the chair, but couldn’t find anyone with a vehicle large enough to drive it to his El Cajon, California, home.
A woman from Ramona, Calif. took to social media, asking for someone to help bring the vet’s chair home. But Hyde never expected the response that would soon reduce him to tears.
Two days after his Goodwill purchase, a large U-haul rolled into his apartment complex. Strangers from Hyde’s community began unloading the truck, bringing all kinds of furniture and home essentials through Hyde’s front door.
As Hyde watched people stock his pantry with food and assemble a cozy new bed in his room, he was overwhelmed with emotion. The veteran had to turn away from the cameras as he choked back tears of joy.
Kneeling at his kitchen counter, Hyde thanked God for the provision that materialized out of nowhere. Thanks to a few compassionate souls, Hyde now has more than just a shelter — he has a home.
“Who knows how much time he has left?” one good Samaritan expressed, as pretty lamps and cozy blankets were placed around Hyde’s new couch.
“But we can at least make it comfortable — he doesn’t have to live on a mattress in the corner.”
Now, as Hyde’s body begins to recover from chemotherapy, he can lie on a new bed. He can rest in an inviting bedroom instead of a stark, uninviting space.