Ron Regains Identity, Has His Life Restored
Ron had paid his debt to society, was released from prison and ready to resume his life. The problem was he had no identification – not a birth certificate, driver’s license, social security card or anything with his name on it – to prove who he was. And without an ID, it was difficult to find a place to stay and just about impossible to get a job.
“I got turned away from several places,” Ron recalled. “I didn’t know what I was going to do.”
After Ron spent several nights on the street, a person at one of the places that turned him down suggested he try the Mission, which has a partnership with iDignity, a nonprofit agency that helps the disadvantaged navigate the often complicated process. The Mission provided a place for him to stay and iDignity helped him get the documents he needed, including a driver’s license.
“I wouldn’t have known where to even start without their help,” Ron said.
Homelessness was something Ron never thought he’d experience when he moved to Florida from Iowa in 1979 with his parents when they retired. He lived with them and held a number of jobs, including 15 years as a landscaper before his dad passed away in 2006 and he quit to care for his sick mother. A year later he got into trouble and spent about four years in prison before being released. Ron’s mother died while he was incarcerated and his sister in Arizona stopped communicating with him, so he had nowhere to go when he was released.
But Ron found a family at the Mission, where he worked as a cook in the Discipleship Program. Through the Victorious Life class, chapel services and other classes, he came to know Jesus and realized he would never have to be alone again.
“Those classes taught me a lot and, more importantly, they helped me keep my mind on the right things,” Ron said.
The first thing Ron remembers about the Men’s Center was the food. His nights on the street had left him with quite an appetite.
“Oh my, that first meal was good,” he said. “And so were all of the rest of them. There was a lot of good food there. I haven’t eaten that much good food since I moved out.”
Ron turned 65 over the summer and began receiving Social Security. He’s using that money to cover his expenses in a small apartment near downtown. He still attends chapel services at the Mission and is grateful for all God did for him while he was here.
“They saved my life. I’m deeply indebted to the staff,” Ronald said. “It’s good to be on my own. I’m enjoying the privacy and all, but there’s a part of me that misses it. They were my family.”
Ron was able to regain his identity through iDignity and restore his life through the Mission. The O.U.R. Men’s Division has about 40 disciples, like Ron, who receive intensive Christian instruction and mentorship along with work therapy designed to develop self-discipline, work ethic and accountability. Your gift of $26.82 provides a day of life-changing care for a man in the program.