Friday, May 30, 2008

Armory Update

I haven't updated about the new building lately. The press release was sent out several weeks ago by the Government Services Administration in Fort Worth, Texas. Since then we have been waiting for the deed and keys to the property. We have not been given the official "go ahead" to get in there yet. I did speak with Government Services Administration in Texas as well as the Property Disposal Branch in Washington D.C. to inquire of any updates. Both departments relayed that it may be one or two weeks before we can take possession.

Thank you to all who have kept this in your thoughts and prayers. The goal is to provide better services and care for the people we serve.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Success Story - Mr. Gene Kelch

I’d like you to meet Gene Kelch. Gene stopped by the shelter today to bring in some clothing donations. A success story of the Samaritan House, his story is one that is somewhat typical of the people we serve.
Gene has lived in Northwest Montana since 1946, he says, “It was a hard working life growing up in the Flathead Valley.” He quit school in the eighth grade as soon as he was able to get a job. He got his first job working at the bowling alley in Whitefish as a pinsetter. At age ten he began working in the woods, “As soon as I could hold a chain saw.”
Gene spent his career working for the US Forest Service and Plum Creek. Along the way he was part of the Montana National Guard for seven years.
Gene fondly recalls shooting his first elk in the Bob Marshall Wilderness as a teenager. “I hit it right between the eyes at 100 yards, it was a 3 or 4 mile pack job to get it back to camp.” He lectures me about the importance of a good rifle and praises his .30-40 Krag, “That rifle is worth its weight in gold. I still have it.”
Gene came to the Samaritan House in 200. At the heart of his homelessness issue is the struggle to maintain a budget on his Social Security retirement check. Gene had just retired from working at Plum Creek. He stated that he would have liked to continue working there but was unable to keep up with the physical demands of the job. With no savings Gene wound up homeless.
Samaritan House helped Gene initially with shelter, applying for other work and ultimately with assistance completing applications for other mainstream resources. Gene worked at McDonalds during this transition and is again retired.
Gene receives a monthly Social Security check in the amount of $679. Gene’s monthly bills are: $150 for rent, $20 for “an old doctor bill”, $15 to Best Buy and $3.79 each month for “AARP insurance.” That leaves the rest for groceries, gas and other expenses.
Gene is glad that his vehicle is now paid off though he bemoans the price of gas, “I just paid $3.53 per gallon down at Smith’s.” He says he spends, “around $20 every other week or so.” for gas.
“To make it work I have to mind my P’s and Q’s and do things that don’t cost so much.” Gene says for fun he likes to do things with his grandchildren and go fishing and camping. He also enjoys feeding the squirrels around his neighborhood.
“I am very thankful to the Samaritan House for the help I got. Without the Samaritan House I don’t know where I would’ve been.”

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Leaders of Tomorrow

Yesterday at the Samaritan House this group of volunteers painted the hallways. Leaders of Tomorrow is a group of leadership-type students from all of the area high schools. You have to be nominated to the group, involvement with the program is a year-long commitment. What a great bunch. With great enthusiasm they painted a couple hallways, cleaned the linen room and parking lot. I think they are also leading today.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Knock Your Socks Off Service

Today the Samaritan House had it's socks knocked off by Cellular One, a local wireless phone provider. Cellular One is letting people know about their "Knock Your Socks Off Service." Not only did they make this monetary donation they also donated hundreds and hundreds of pairs of socks to the shelter.
Andy Murphy, shown in the picture on the right, is the area manager for the company and has shown to care for the Flathead Valley and the Samaritan House. Thanks Andy and Cellular One!