Homeless and desperate for help

This is my friend Thomas. We’ve only met recently, but we became fast friends. His spirit is so joyous and full of wisdom and love, laced beautifully in humility. I was honored to spend half an hour with him learning his story, and I’m hoping his story will touch you also.

Thomas was married to his wife Tonya for four years. His face lit up when he told me about her and their yearly vacation to Gatlinburg. She was never a camper, but after he took her, she was hooked! They would camp by a spot they’d found by the water and catch and cook fresh trout. At the time, Thomas owned his own business- a successful landscaping company in Savannah, Georgia. The two were living their dream until Tonya got cancer. As a small business owner, Thomas didn’t have health insurance. He and Tonya paid out of pocket as needed, so this unexpected disease caught them off guard emotionally and financially. Thomas told me, “I just wanted to keep her alive.” He sold everything trying to do just that, every piece of equipment, the vehicles, the trailers, everything. It’s heartbreaking to say, it wasn’t enough. Tonya passed in 2018 on Thomas’ birthday, just five months after Thomas also lost his mother and ten months after he lost his father. On top of all of this heartache, Thomas just couldn’t stay afloat financially and ultimately lost his home too. Thomas lost everything except his truck- where he now lives.

Without full time work, health insurance, a home and proper nutrition, Thomas’ type 1 diabetes has progressively worsened and affected his feet and ultimately his mobility. He does work now, but only part time. I met Thomas with a sign in his hand at my local grocery store asking for donations for his insulin.  He was sitting there tucked by the Christmas trees, and I knew right away I had to go talk with him. I learned so much about him and his family, how much he respected his parents, how much he adored his wife; he told me a poem he’d written, we prayed together and cried together. He thanked me for seeing him, for listening to him, for not pre-judging him based on his situation, for giving him hope. I walked away longing to do more than give him a bag of groceries and some money. I thought a lot about my own friends who own their own businesses and don’t have health insurance. I thought about how quickly that situation could be them, or even me. So here I am.

Thomas is in his truck as I type. He’s got blankets and fuel to get him through the night, but he’s sleeping in a cold truck! If you ask him, he’s ok with it; he’d ask for his insulin first, not a place to stay. So I’m asking first for help to assist him in purchasing his insulin for the next two months. The cost without insurance is about $1600 a month. I’d like to do more than just that though. He’s on a list for housing assistance, but as a single man, it’s a very long wait. I don’t know what the best option is, but maybe a place to stay for a couple months until he’s on his feet again.

I asked Thomas what his financial priorities are. This was his response -

“To answer your questions, if I had the money, the first thing that I would do would be to purchase health insurance to combat the cost of insulin. Then, depending on how much money I had, I would buy at least a one month supply of insulin (maybe a month and a half supply). Once I have my insulin I would redirect my time from petitioning for donations to being gainfully employed with a company that offered health insurance. And I'm certain that I would land a job before my insulin ran out. Sure, I would still have my health issues, but I would continue to push through them. That job would open the door for me to find an apartment and get out of my truck!

The next thing I would focus on would be to bring awareness to the public concerning diabetes and the struggle that some diabetics have in obtaining their medications. So many people have absolutely no clue of the struggle to stay alive. That, will be my ultimate life's calling with hopes of one day forming a nonprofit organization to help diabetics secure healthcare in order to afford their insulin.

As for my skills, I consider myself to be one of the best landscapers in the state of Georgia, perhaps the entire southeastern United States! I'm not being conceited by saying that . But my dad used to always tell me that "it's a poor frog who doesn't praise his own pond". I also am a certified small engine mechanic, an upholsterer, and I can do basic carpentry work. I am also a skilled pressure washing technician. Before my wife passed away we had our own landscaping and pressure washing company.

I appreciate the compliment concerning my writing skills. Reading and writing has always been two of the most passionate things I've ever been involved in. I love writing poetry and songs and I read just about anything that comes across my face. I'm not sure this information was helpful but if you need more details, please let me know.”

That’s Thomas- living in his truck and wanting to help others with diabetes. To anyone in the Savannah, Georgia area, Thomas is willing to work full-time. I think he would ideally need something where he could sit, but he told me he doesn’t want that limiting what he can do; he’s willing to push through.

If you can give anything to help Thomas, great or small, it’s so very appreciated.

Some encouragement and words of wisdom this morning from Thomas - “Good morning. I am well. I am sooooooo glad to see the sun!!! Last night wasn't a cold night.... it was a VERY COLD NIGHT! But let me say this: I've been through some of the worst times and have endured some of the most brutal conditions that a person can go through in Savannah. But only because of God's grace and mercy have I made it thus far. However, one thing that I do know; there are going to be some rough times in life, and there are going to be some things that we must see and go through that will make it almost impossible to smile. But after every dark night there's a brighter day! But during those long dark and sometimes cold nights we just have to keep our head up, stick our chest out and handle it!”

Love and blessings,

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Fundraising team (2)

Lisa F 
Raised $904 from 24 donations
Savannah, GA
Thomas S 
Team member
Raised $145 from 5 donations

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