One Veteran's Restoration of Home and Hope

One Veteran's Restoration of Home and Hope
as told by Kurt Crays, EUMA Executive Director   
 
      I first met Tim at EUMA’s Liberty House – the place he credits with rebuilding his life. Liberty House is the only transitional shelter in NW Pennsylvania devoted to ending Veteran homelessness. 
 
     Tim and I talked in the Liberty House kitchen. He told me he was doing well in his recovery and 
personal growth, in spite of being in the midst of a divorce to the woman he loved very much. 
 
     That day in the kitchen, Tim was homeless, unemployed, and on the verge of divorce. He wanted to reconcile with his wife and admitted that he had done wrong by her.  He had not been the man, the husband she deserved, and he understood why she sought a divorce. 
 
     Tim confided that while he did not want to, he honored his wife’s request and signed the divorce 
papers, believing he had changed and that all things work together for good, for those who love God. 
 
     And…he confessed he needed a miracle to save his marriage. Together, we prayed.
 
     I didn’t know it was Tim’s birthday when I picked him and his wife up at their apartment in Erie’s Little Italy. This was nearly eight months after that kitchen conversation and two years - to the day - that he came close to committing suicide.  
 
     We greeted one another and Tim introduced me…to his wife, Julia.
 
     As we drove to Hoss’s for dinner, I listened to Tim’s story – one that began with physical, sexual and emotional abuse when he was boy. He told me that he needed to get away and did so by dropping out of high school and enlisting. Tim’s a Marine, and he said, “I got very good at my job as a sniper.”
 
     As we sat in the restaurant parking lot, Tim told me about the day his best friend was killed, right next to him, while they were serving together – and, about the day his fiancee and their unborn child were killed in a car accident. 
 
     He shared the many pains, struggles and horrors he experienced that would have broken any man, and I was shaken.  
 
     But then…I looked at Tim – a changed man sitting next to me, and we both looked at the miracle 
sitting in the backseat of my car. 
 
     Tim’s face lit up, and he smiled as he looked at Julia. He grabbed her hand and he asked me if I 
remembered that day we prayed in the kitchen at Liberty House . . . the day he told me he signed and sent the divorce papers  . . . the day we asked God for a miracle? 
 
     I told him I remembered, and he said, “Prayer works, brother! God in action!”
 
     The spell was broken and we rejoiced together that a mailing error held up the divorce papers from being filed – giving Tim and Julia critical time to reconcile. 
 
     We talked about Tim’s effort to come to grips with the abuse he suffered, better understand his anger and fear, and “use the tools” he was taught to restore his broken relationships. 
 
     We celebrated his full-time job, Tim and Julia’s apartment, his decision to choose life.  And after we prayed together and when we finally got inside Hoss’s, we also celebrated Tim’s birthday.
 
     “The staff at Liberty House gave me the opportunity for healing, taught me responsibility and held me accountable,” Tim shared as he reflected on the past few years of his life.
 
     When you give to EUMA’s Liberty House, you are not merely putting a roof over a Veteran’s head or giving someone a bed to sleep on.  When you give, you are literally saving lives, restoring broken relationships and helping our nation’s heroes thrive!
 
     Please give today so we can continue to move our Veterans from homeless to home and hopelessness to hope! To make a difference today, click the donate button. Thank you!

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