Farewell, Old Friend

Kevin Sheehan came to Helping Up Mission in 2002 from my wife’s hospital.  Struggling for years with drug addiction and no place else to go, after talking to Gayle, he decided to come to HUM.

During that year in our Program, Kevin regained his health, renewed his self-esteem and developed a real spiritual connection with God.  Upon graduation he took a job with a local non-profit organization. 

Sadly, Kevin’s health didn’t hold and he struggled with numerous major physical ailments.  Almost dying a couple of times, he was unable to work full-time and eventually received disability.  I admit that I frequently wondered why God didn’t give Kevin good health or just take him home.  But Kevin persevered for a decade. 

This week, God did call Kevin home.  I’m happy for him now and it was Gayle’s and my great joy to know him.  We also know we will be seeing him again soon.

A final word about Kevin from fellow HUM graduate Paul Naldrett:

I had 90 days to complete 40 hours of community service.  Being the drunk that I was, I showed up at HUM on the 89th day “tore up from the floor up.”  About 30 seconds into our conversation, Kevin said, “Paul, I can’t let you volunteer here today, because you are drunk, but ……let me tell you about our program.”

That statement saved my life. Kevin compassionately listened to my story and convinced me it was a good idea to show up at the Mission for the evening chapel services that night.  I did and every night after that for about a week.

My landlord had said he was not going to renew my lease, even though I had the money to pay rent.  He said he was not going to allow me to drink myself to death in his apartment.  Court was coming up and jail time was a certainty.  But I listened to Kevin’s suggestions, staying at the Mission, joining the program and having the seed planted (or at least have the pre-existing seed nourished) by Pastor Gary, Tom Bond and the rest of the men I was blessed to meet at HUM.  

Kevin was there to listen and guide me when I thought I had nowhere else to go. I will be eternally grateful.
Always One Day at a Time,
Pastor Gary Byers
Spiritual Life Director