If you asked Gregory what he values most in life, he would tell you “family”. When he was a young man, one of his sisters had four children she could no longer raise. So, Gregory’s mother adopted them. After his mother suddenly passed due to sickness, Gregory was left the legal guardian of his nieces and nephews at the young age of 18. But this didn’t bother him.
“When my mother died, I was just a teenager. I let my nephew wear some of my clothes to school. But I was happy because I was doing it. And that’s what family does.”
A year ago, Gregory was in a car accident that left him in a wheel chair with a mountain of medical bills. The most heartbreaking part about this story is that it was at this time that one of his family members stole money from him. In his greatest hour of need, Gregory became homeless with nowhere to go.
“When I left the hospital, my niece tried to put me in a nursing home. And the word ‘nursing home’ scared me to death. When I was younger, I didn’t know what it was. So, I asked my brother. And he told me it’s a place where they send you when your family don’t have time to take care of you. They put you there to die. So, when my niece tried to put me in a nursing home, I thought to myself ‘Oh, my God. I’m gonna die.”
With no other options, Gregory eventually found his way to Volunteers of America and the Alexandria Community Shelter.
“I had heard that this place will help you. So, that’s why I came. I needed help and I wanted to get up. And I will tell you, my case manager is awesome. They help me stay healthy. When I arrived, I was in a wheel chair and then I had a walker. Now, I walk just fine. They also help me pay for my medicine. They help me get around. They’ve given me clothing. And now, they are helping me find a place.”
In September 2023, Gregory celebrated his 77th birthday and although his journey towards independent living still continues, he’s very grateful for all of the support donors like you have made possible for him and others at the shelter.