At the grocery store the other day, I ran into "Bill", an old friend who I hadn’t seen in a while. I first met Bill when we hired him at Good Samaritan eight years ago. He had just gotten out of prison and was looking for a new start. Bill was a responsible, hardworking guy and knew what he wanted. Shortly after working with us, he followed his dreams by getting a job at a car dealership.
The first few months after leaving, we kept in touch, I even went with him to court for support. But, as often happens, we lost track of each other after a while. So seeing him eight years later, beaming at me across that grocery aisle, was a lovely surprise.
Bill told me how he has been at the same job for eight years, gotten back with his girlfriend and is beyond happy with his life right now. He didn’t need to add the last part, I could tell from his demeanor it was true. In our work, there is a lot of heartbreak, but also a lot of blessings. This was one of those blessings…seeing the fruit of seeds planted long ago. Bill worked so hard to successfully return to his community after some mistakes. Good Samaritan was there to believe in him and support him, and here was the end product…a true success story.
Re-entry efforts have always been part of Good Samaritan's mission, from employing pre-release residents, to providing returning citizens with clothing and other needs.
After saying goodbye to Bill, I continued with my shopping. Later I spied him in another aisle, conversing cheerfully with a fellow patron...an image that stays with me…one of a man who overcame his past and is now again truly part of his community.
The above story was originally published in our Mission Moments email newsletter December 2nd, 2015
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