I’ve written before about good folks that I have met, and random acts of kindness. This past summer I had the joy of befriending many such people while serving at a weekly community meal for the homeless and those on the fringe of becoming homeless. One person that I’ve had the privilege to know is my friend Ryan.
Ryan is getting a new house. This one. It is absolutely gorgeous on the inside with Corian counters, hardwood floors, oil-rubbed bronze fixtures. You can fit a crowd in the bathroom, which conveniently adjoins the master bedroom. It’s seriously huge in there. The tub is deep enough for a good soak after a long day. The 1 foot tiles look like slate–very earthy and warm. The stackable washer & dryer are located in one of the large bathroom closets. As a great bonus, the home was built using all of the latest “green” technologies. Beautiful, eco-friendly, and smartly efficient.
Pretty impressive, eh? Perhaps more so is the fact that Ryan’s new home is being built solely by volunteers for Habitat for Humanity. The community is coming together by donating time, materials, and money to make Ryan’s dream of homeownership a reality. I find it amazing that one person can spur action in the hearts of so many.
You see, Ryan is the Street Outreach Coordinator for Goodwill. He seeks out our local homeless, many of whom have been cast aside or forgotten about. He can go into some pretty scary areas to find people and make contact. He offers friendship, and help. Eventually he earns trust, which is no easy feat. Then, he tries his darnedest to get our homeless friends connected to the resources that they need.
At minimum, he tries to get them to Safe Harbor in the winter, where they can get a hot meal, fellowship, and a warm place to sleep. Then he may put them in touch with medical care, get them on a list for housing, provide food and clothing vouchers, job training, or a bus pass. Sometimes he has to work much harder to get someone into a rehabilitation facility. For those who won’t come to Safe Harbor, he may leave necessities like hand warmers, boots, or a coat. My man has got some serious street cred. And he doesn’t give up.
The best part? He is the most humble and down to earth guy. In fact, I am pretty sure that he’ll be very embarrassed that I am sharing any of this with you. Ryan freely admits that he didn’t always make the best choices in his younger years, but that is part of what I think makes him so effective at his job. He listens. He understands. He’s been there. And he loves what he does.
When I ask Ryan how his week is going, he often replies “God is GOOD!” or “I have the best job in the world!”
With all of the work that Ryan does for the community, it was no surprise that when he qualified for a Habitat house that people lined up in droves to help build it. When you put goodness out into the world, goodness comes back. It’s a ripple effect.
Ryan received the keys to his new home a few days ago, at the dedication. As you can see, he is thrilled to be a homeowner.
The Baby & I attended the dedication. This was our view. I couldn’t believe how many people took time off of work to be there to support Ryan. Amazing. He was so grateful, and just a wee bit overwhelmed. I think that he still can’t get used to the fact that this was all for him. And his future will only get brighter.
He just got engaged to the love of his life. A lovely woman named Grace. Isn’t she beautiful? They will be married in a few months, and together they will raise their collective 5 children in the new house. I told Ryan that this must be his year. 🙂
Grace & Ryan made a point to write scripture passages on all of the studs before the walls were put up. A lot of the builders did, as well. There is so much love & faith in this still empty house that it is palpable. That should make for a great beginning to their life together.