Homeless Not Worthless

Eric Ledbetter, an employed but homeless man, lives in the woods behind the Woodland Hills Church of Christ in Tennessee's capital city.

A few Thursdays ago, Mr. Ledbetter helped police in Nashville apprehend two burglars:

...As Ledbetter made his way to the church the night of May 15, he noticed someone else had gotten there first. "By the time I got up there, I saw the window was already broken out," Ledbetter said.

"I didn't hear anything, but I saw the window. After a while, I heard some glass moving," he said. "Next thing you know, I see somebody moving around in there."

Burglars had broken in and ransacked part of the building. Ledbetter caught them in the act. He says he grabbed his phone, called 911 and waited until police arrived.

The alleged thieves, police say, are Chelsea Bomar and John Quinton. Quinton admitted to police he has broken into several other churches in the area and a local business. 

At Woodland Hills, the couple allegedly stole a flat-screen TV and a computer monitor and were coming back to take more when they were caught...
Nice catch by a man who sleeps under the stars.

Asked about his plight, the homeless man stated that he had suffered a run of bad luck and had moved to the area from Virginia.

It is often easier to identify people on the streets as "just the homeless" without recognizing that each individual has a story: The homeless population is heterogeneous.

The abused.

Those who made poor choices.

Certainly, mental health and/or substance abuse are often catalysts as well.

And some who suffered their share of bad luck.

But each has a story.

Friend of the blog and health care professional "Monica" recently shared a series of tweets about a young homeless male veteran in her California community.

She and others have been trying to talk him into getting help.

Monica has involved the mayor's office, but the soldier is not currently interested.

They are not going to give-up though.
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A working guy down on his luck helps capture two burglars.

A young soldier walks the streets suffering.

The heroin addict lies in an alley focused on his next fix.

A registered sex offender lives in a tent off the beaten path to comply with court-ordered residency requirements.

Each of the homeless has a unique story, and it is important not to forget that.

21 comments:

MrsMonicaLB said...

Yup its so easy to just look the other way, pretend they are not there, that they are a nobody BUT when you take the time to look again or listen like I did and hearing the young homeless Vet singing his cadence walking our streets you'll discover they each have a unique story.

Mary Kirkland said...

It's easy not to really see the homeless when we don't want to think about why they are there or how easy it could be us who are sitting on the corner begging for money.

Mark Koopmans said...

Aloha:)

Hundreds of Hawaii's homeless live on a street next to a Children's Discovery Center in Honolulu.

While it is unsettling to drive past dozens of tents (on either side of the road) I know how blessed our family is *not* to be one of the homeless.

You are absolutely right in that each of them has a story...

I hope that CA soldier (and all his fellow homeless vets) accept the offered help one day...

They served our country - we should be bending over to serve them in their time of need - IF they want it...

Bijoux said...

You are right that they all have a unique story. I've read that many people are just one or two pay checks away from being homeless.

On a side note, I'm baffled on how a homeless man pays for a cell phone?

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

That's wonderful he was able to help.

Stephanie Faris said...

To what Bijoux said--there was a program that issued cell phones to homeless people. I think they just could call 911? I'm not sure...

Donna K. Weaver said...

Yeah. Every person on the streets has their own story. I think they would break our hearts.

Chrys Fey said...

When I go to my local, library I see a lot of homeless people and it's hard for me not to notice them because I feel for them. When I worked there, around Halloween, we had small Reese's and Hersey bars for customers who came into the libraries gift shop. One day, I took two of each and left them next to the few homeless people who came into the library to sleep.

I agree with Donna, every person on the streets has a story. (Now that gives me an idea for a book.)

Pat Hatt said...

Easy to look at them all the same indeed, but each do have a story.

Bijoux said...

Thanks, Stephanie. I hadn't heard of that!

ladyfi said...

So true - what a lovely compassionate post.

Theresa Milstein said...

This is the 2nd or 3rd homeless-person-done-good type of story in the last several months. This was a nice post to read. Yes, each person has a story. We shouldn't see them as the "other." Thanks for the reminder.

Gail Dixon said...

Ever since a close family member found himself homeless 2 years ago, I've never looked at them the same. Never in a million years would I have imagined a member of my family on the streets. Poor choices and mental instability wreaks havoc on a family. Deep down a good person and your story was refreshing.

Audrey Allure said...

It is easy to forget, especially when you see so many on the street. Great story!

Carol Kilgore said...

Good for him! I hope the church is helping him get back on his feet in return.

Brian Miller said...

they do all share stories...i have done work with homeless for the last 10-12 years since i was in baltimore...they are no different than us...maybe one decision...one fall away...

Blond Duck said...

It's so sad people like this are overlooked for people who abuse the system, when there's so many people just having bad luck or a hard time.

Bunkerville said...

Thanks for a great reminder, So easy to look the other way.

Arlee Bird said...

I'm fascinated by those homeless stories. Some of them just need a good break and someone to believe in them. Some would prefer to be homeless.

I have a long time friend in Tennessee who's been homeless for a good part of his life and he seems to like it that way. Last I heard he lived in a wooded area near a downtown center and would go downtown most days with his guitar and play for whatever money people would give him. He's gotten by like that and appears to be okay with it.

We can't judge others by our own lives and preferences, but we should be there to help if that is what is needed.

Lee
A Faraway View

Slamdunk said...

Thanks for the comments all.

@Stephanie: I appreciate the perspective on Bijoux's question.

@Bijoux: Good question. Another example I have seen is with the temporary homeless. Like this guy, they have employment or seasonal work and access to funds, but just do not have the resources at that moment for permanent housing. So, they choose a temp solution like a tent in the woods.

Jenny said...

There but for the grace of God.

What a touching story.