hope-serving-vets-thrift-sign.jpgWith winter just around the corner it’s even more important to remember the people who are sprawled over heat vents and looking for food in places where no human should have to look. A program in our town, The Randlin Homes, helps to provide shelter, career counseling, and emotional help to homeless Vets and ex-offenders. Co-founded by Ralph and Linda Schlitz, this lighthouse of hope first opened their doors in December of 2000 with one home. Now they operate three and are making a difference for many.

We have worked with this program and have seen first hand the people who have changed their lives. The Randlin Homes have weathered all types of storms but only continue to move forward and with one mission in mind. To help people. The community has responded by helping this program envision good things for its future.

They offer veterans and ex-offenders HOPE (Help Opportunity Praise Encouragement) to move forward from their present situation to a new life ahead. Many of those who have sought help at Randlin Homes have had a long history of mental illnesses, substance abuse problems, suicide attempts and other life challenges.

I talked with Dennis Stephens Friday (see the video below), about the program and how it’s helped him. Dennis is an amazing person and was very honest about his life, his struggles, and his new desire to help others turn their lives around.

In March they opened a thrift store here in Wausau, Wisc. to help Randlin residents learn new skills and sharpen some of the skills they already have. The community has responded, purchasing from the store, and also services like snow shoveling, lawn care, small engine repair, and a “Hot Diggity Dog” business.

While visiting their store I talked with Gene Hilber about his feelings and thoughts about the program. He shared with me that it gave him a chance to reconnect with his daughters and a fresh start in life.

I was personally inspired by these courageous men, and hope you will be as well. Life isn’t easy for any of us. We all fall down now and then, and sometimes need the compassion of others to get back in the saddle and move forward. This community is fortunate to have Randlins Homes reaching out to those whom many look away from. People like Ralph and Linda are examples of the many unsung heros that exist in cities big and small across the world. When many have told them that they can’t, they continue to prove they can.  

To learn more please visit their website at RandlinHomes.org.


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