Angels In Our Midst

Angels In Our Midst

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Angels in our Midst (Angels of Alfred Washburn Center)

Updated: Monday, December 30 2013, 08:14 PM CST
We told you about the fire that gutted the Alfred Washburn Center in Pensacola and forced the operation into temporary quarters.
But, that building is only part of their story.
Tonight, we want to tell you about the volunteers who keep the center going.
We want to tell you about those angels in our midst.

Nestled near the woods, by the railroad tracks that carry many of its visitors, the Alfred Washburn Center stands as a comfort station for the homeless.

Mark Brooks, Washburn Center Client;  "You can get your mail here.  You can take a shower here.  You can do your laundry here.  You can get a little sack lunch."

Carolyn Johnson, Alfred Washburn Center Client;   "It is so good when it's cold and someone can actually walk up and give you a hot drink or give you a slice of toast."

There are dedicated volunteers, angels, who are ready to help meet the needs of the travelers passing through.   Like their clients, they come from all walks of life.  Each of them has made the personal choice and commitment to serve.  

Renee Enzian, Alfred Washburn Center New Volunteer;  "Seems like there's always excuses.  Not enough time in the day, you know, work; things of that nature.  So, I thought, well, I'm taking a little time off during the holidays so I thought I'd come and help out."

John Scafidi, Alfred Washburn Center Volunteer;  "I am Catholic and I started discerning towards the priesthood and so this is part of my journey towards that."

No matter what brought them to Alfred Washburn, there is a guiding principle towards those they serve, laid out my their leader, a volunteer himself.

Chuck Porter, Alfred Washburn Center Director;  "One thing that we really stress is their dignity as human beings."

Carolyn;  "Mr. Chuck, he cares.  He's the leader and I have watched him when it's cold, he offers something warm; a coat, a jacket."

Material things may go lacking from time to time but care and compassion always abound here.  These angels know that everyone has a story, and more times than not, it is circumstance rather than choice that has led them to the streets

Leslie Youd, Alfred Washburn Center Volunteer; "There're professional people out on that yard that are homeless people now.
We have educators, legal assistants, One woman had a very high position in state government."
Morgan Rosas, Alfred Washburn Center Volunteer;  "We have homeless veterans.  We have people who have children like us."

Some of the clients are longtime visitors; others are newcomers.  They are all like family and the volunteers embrace their successes; even the smallest.

Leslie;  "Nathaniel had a Christmas card from his sister."

And the big moments, like the man they helped to reclaim his crane operator's license and apply for a job in Orlando.

Chuck;  "He got to Orlando on a Vespa motorscooter and a sleeping bag but he got there and was interviewed.  And right now, he is actively operating cranes in the Orlando area.  Love to see a success story."

Just because someone took the time;  just because someone cared.  That's what makes the difference for most of these clients.

Morgan;  "I hope that they can see Christ's presence in me."

John;  "I hope that I give them a sense of hope that they know that we do care about them and that this is going to be a safe place for them to come to."

Chuck;  "Of all the things I've done professionally in my life, probably the most demanding thing I've ever done.  And without question, the most rewarding thing that I've ever done."

Angels in our Midst is brought to you by Children's Hospital At Sacred Heart.
Angels in our Midst (Angels of Alfred Washburn Center)

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