Letter: Helpful men deserve help themselves

Aug. 08, 2013 @ 01:27 AM

To the editor:

What an informative piece in Sunday’s News-Topic about the men at Caldwell House and their need for jobs as a crucial part of their recovery from addiction. It was especially good to read about the two men featured in the article, Greg O’Geary and Jon Hill. Jon is having an especially tough time finding a full-time job, most likely because of a two-year stint in prison he has just finished. His candor and forthrightness in telling us about that and also about being thousands of dollars behind in child support were commendable. This is a man who is truly working to turn his life around.

On the second Saturday in July, St. James Episcopal Church had reason to be grateful to Jon, Greg and three other men from Caldwell House. The five came through the door of the St. James kitchen to help with the meal we were serving that Saturday to anyone in need. Five churches join together in a ministry we call Room at the Table, each church taking a turn one Saturday each month serving a meal at 4. The five men arrived early to St. James and helped with set-up, served and cleaned up as well! They not only were a terrific source of help, they brought great enthusiasm and energy and were simply a pleasure to be with.

Within 10 minutes of arriving, Jon Hill had put on an apron, and he truly took over in the kitchen, seeing what needed doing and doing it: busting up bags of ice, washing dishes, stirring pots of food, you name it. He fit right in and was right at home in the camaraderie of the work. Jon has come back to church to worship with us a few times as well, and we are so pleased to have him with us.

Caldwell County is a wonderful place in a number of ways. One of them is how our helping agencies and faith communities work well with each other, collaborating with and supporting one another. I am lucky to get to see some of this interaction. There are the five churches pulling off Room at the Table. There is Caldwell House, responding to the offer for some of its men to participate in a meal for people in need. At the Shelter Home I see ways that Yokefellow, Helping Hands Clinic, and Habitat for Humanity interact with the Shelter Home for the benefit of everyone’s clients. At Helping Hands Clinic you see the same interplay. Men from Caldwell House were there three days last week helping move the Helping Hands pharmacy back from the hospital to the clinic on Harper Avenue. Trucks being used in the Helping Hands move say “Habitat for Humanity” on them. Our agencies help each other here. Our people help each other. And you do not always see that in other places.

What a good thing it would be if we might also get the pleasure of seeing that we are a community that believes in second chances. If Jon Hill is offered a full-time job by someone, please share that good news with the rest of us. It would be wonderful to celebrate together the fact that a man who wants so much to redeem himself was given that opportunity here in Caldwell County.

Melissa Eggers