Often individuals jump to the conclusion that someone may be homeless due to bad choices in life or just the luck of the draw, and of those people, some might think, “why don’t they just get a job?” The sad fact is that some individuals work 40-50-even 60 hours a week but are homeless. While yes, this could be the luck of the draw. It can at times also be attributed to low pay, the cost of living (which only continues to grow, especially within the current administration), and many other things.
It’s not always the druggie who wanderers the streets asking for a fix that you know in your hometown. Sometimes, some genuine-good people are stuck between a rock and a hard place. For example, single moms, children with no parents, someone who’s trying to turn their life around, or in this case, a God-fearing veteran.
In Louisville, Kentucky, a community came together to honor a homeless Marine veteran with the keys to his new home. But, Torre Harris, 60, couldn’t entirely accept it when he was told the house was all his.
“I felt like a celebrity,” Harris told Insider. “I just couldn’t believe there was so many nice people in the world, period. I can say they really helped me out. It’s such a touching thing to me.”
Working with the association Operation Victory, over 50 labor unions, local groups, and organizations endured a half-year remodeling of an abandoned house for Harris to move into.
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Harris is a contractor – a job he cherishes. As far as he’s concerned, it’s a craft that is inspired by the image of Jesus Christ himself, who too was a carpenter in his early life. The idea of provisional labor implied getting a regular paycheck was a struggle. Harris battled to pay for his medical coverage and keep his head above water.
“Because God gave me the hands and the strength, he wakes me up every morning so I can go to do this work. If Jesus Christ can do it, I can too,” he said. “It just put me a little bad where I couldn’t move about the way I needed to,” Harris said. “I started going around from friend to friend, family to family and it just didn’t work out.”
One day while working on remodeling a house, Harris was found sleeping in it by one of HPI’s construction directors, Tawana Hughes, who decided it was against the company’s morals to have a contractor living without a house to go home to. She then recommended him to Operation Victory.
An abandoned house was completely renovated for a homeless veteran, and his reaction to the surprise will warm your heart https://t.co/ybbSbVQy0k
— Insider Life (@InsiderLife) February 3, 2020
Operation Victory, which started in 2017, is an alliance of businesses, unions, and community associations with a mission to help homeless veterans. This incorporated a few partnerships with nearby associations like River City Flooring, the UAW Food Community Outreach, and Metro United Way.
“We saw there was a need in our community to help veterans and homeless folks,” Tim Morris, director of the Greater Louisville Central Labor Council, told Insider.
Morris noted they managed to top off two dumpsters by the time they were finished. Laborers likewise knocked down inside walls, which assisted with extending the lounge and kitchen. They additionally replaced all the floors that had rotted away.
“It’s always so amazing to see the work so many folks are able to come together and do,” Morris said. “This feels like something we can do to serve veterans after they served us and protected us for fighting for our freedom. It’s a great thing to give back a little bit. We will never be able to give back the proper amount they deserve.”
Following a half year of solid work, it seemed to have transformed into an entirely different house. At that point, the group started introducing appliances like fridges and ovens that local partners had donated.
One night Hughes chose to surprise Harris by taking him to his new home. She told him, “Before we go back in, I got you a house I want you to go hang some blinds in.”
Harris began to hang the blinds, not knowing he was balancing them in his own house. When she broke the fantastic news that he was actually at his own home, “I was simply astounded,” he said. Harris was stunned. He said the memory makes him grin from ear to ear.
“I was simply puzzled,” Harris said. “I thought it was someone’s home I was simply chipping away at like I typically do.”
We thank you for your service Harris and hope you enjoy the rest of your days in your loving home. You deserve it, as you were working to do better for yourself. God bless.