Based in south Louisiana, Release & Gather is a blog by Holly Rabalais.  Her posts explore people, community, and matters of the heart.  Everyone has a unique journey.  Welcome to a window into hers.

When the Helper Needs Help

If you’ve read Lamin’s story, you know that the Salvation Army was a key resource in helping him turn away from alcohol and begin rebuilding his life, a process that is still ongoing. On my first visit to the Salvation Army looking for help, the desk worker, Scotty, impressed me with his professionalism, positive attitude, and above-and-beyond assistance. From that day forward, each time I walked in the door he greeted me by name, “Hey, Ms. Holly. How are you today?” He made phone calls and offered suggestions for rehabilitation facilities. He looked out for Lamin while he was temporarily staying there, making sure he was in the office waiting for me when I showed up to take him somewhere. He was a Godsend.

One day I walked in, asked for Scotty, and a fellow responded, “Why do you need to speak to Scotty?”

“Because he and Dan have been helping me with a man I’ve been helping.”

“Well, I don’t know how Scotty’s going to help. He’s just a client like the rest of us.”

I never would have guessed. I just assumed Scotty was a paid worker. He wore slacks, dress shirts, and ties every time I encountered him. He just didn’t strike me as someone who would be in a rehab or homeless program. Another lesson in the proverbial book and its cover.

Through the weeks, Scotty shared with me that soon he would finish rehabilitation after drug addiction and incarceration and would need a job. Working with his sponsor and other advocates, he secured an apartment that he moved into July 1. Friends from the Salvation Army helped him clean, paint, and put some better flooring in. He found a job at LSU and began work the following Monday, leaving at 3:15 a.m. and riding a bike 3.5 miles in the dark to scrub toilets and mop floors until 9:00 a.m. He was thankful to have the work.

He was even more thankful when on July 6 he interviewed for a well-paying position where my husband, Mike, works. Within 24 hours--an unprecedented response, Mike said--the background check and drug test had returned good and HR called Scotty to begin orientation the following Tuesday.

We visited Scotty over the weekend, and he was so proud to show us his new pad, small but clean. He was thankful for it, noting the only thing he could use were a couple of chairs for his table. We discussed his transportation situation. Scotty thought he’d be able to take the bus to work, but the 6:00 a.m. shift makes that impossible. Approximately 13 miles stand between him and this job, yet it might as well be 113. Mike and I offered to help as much as we can, and Scotty was hopeful that a family member might have a car he could use until he could save enough money to buy his own. Today he learned that option was off the table.

He called this morning to share his thoughts and to seek guidance. He was stressed all weekend knowing he’d have to juggle transportation to and from work every day. He’s a dedicated man who gives every task his best, and he couldn’t stand the idea of letting down this employer if he started the position and then later had trouble getting there. He said he knew that Mike and I would help, but he still was not feeling a peace about it.

Scotty prayed about it and felt that the responsible thing to do would be to contact HR and explain that while he wanted the job, his transportation situation right now limits him. He will continue to humble himself doing the work that the good Lord has already provided and save until he can get a vehicle--nothing fancy, just something that will run! He hopes that once he’s got his own wheels that the company will still have a position open and be willing to hire him.

It fills my heart with joy to see Scotty’s life being rebuilt as he turns from a life full of unwise, self-driven choices to one surrendered to God’s purpose. Now I have to call on the people in my network for whatever help you can provide. Scotty could use a couple of chairs to put at his table to finish out his apartment needs. Chairs are easy, right? Let me know if you have any.

And the bigger need--transportation. If anyone has a vehicle that is in working or near-working condition that is less than $2,500 or if you would like to donate a vehicle or money toward a vehicle fund, please let me know. This is a tall order, I know, but I have to put it out there.

Most importantly, please pray for Scotty--for his protection while he rides his bike to and from work; for his eyes to stay focused on God; for strength to resist any temptation that comes his way. Pray for God to lead him along the path of everlasting life.  

To the Guy Who Punched My Son

Ferris Wheel Logic