Stacy and Carol met in 2013 through mutual friends and family. Stacy had been working his whole life managing restaurants, construction jobs, and various other types of employment. Carol had raised 4 sons on her own before meeting Stacy.
On February 10, 2014, Stacy and Carol were sitting in their vehicle talking when Stacy's eye's rolled back and he stopped responding. Carol shook him firmly to bring him back to consciousness and he was taken to the hospital. Stacy's heart rate was 255 bpm and he'd had a heart attack. Since then, he's suffered several small strokes and seizures leaving long term side effects. He struggles with chronic issues with one leg and foot making it difficult to walk as well as regular back pain. He is physically unable to work and has been declined disability 5 times since his initial heart attack in 2014.
Stacy and Carol lived in a trailer next door to Stacy's son in Benton Harbor for a while, but when Stacy's son moved and gave up the lease to both trailers, Stacy and Carol were forced to move as well. Unable to secure stable housing immediately, they used a stimulus check to move into a motel. Once that money ran out, the state paid for one more week at the motel. During this time, Carol fell ill, suffered a seizure and was admitted to the hospital. They have relatives in Reed City and wanted to be closer to them for support, which led them to OBK in December 2020.
Stacy and Carol checked into the shelter with only the clothes on their back. Stacy had no forms of ID, neither had any sort of income or assistance, and no direction to turn for housing. They've been working closely with Mid Michigan Community Action Agency, OBK Staff, Social Security, and a veteran's program to obtain new forms of ID, reapply for disability and seek housing assistance. Stacy says they don't need much, an "efficiency" apartment, or what is also known as a studio apartment would be fine. They want to make sure if something were to happen to one of them, the other could keep up with it easily. Their family and friends in the area have assisted them as much as possible, but as they wait for their assistance to be approved through various agencies and organizations, they remain guests at Our Brothers Keeper Shelter.
When I ask how their stay at OBK has been so far, Stacy replies "staying here has been great, staff has been great, very loving and caring, and Christmas was the best Christmas I ever had in my life, great gifts and great food."
Stacy and Carol go beyond the regular expected duties of shelter guests. They happily assist staff with cleaning, help carry in donations, open the door for staff with a warm smile and a cheerful "welcome to Our Brothers Keeper!" greeting. As Stacy and Carol get closer to securing an apartment of their own and moving out of the shelter, I know their presence here and their genuine hopeful natures will be missed by guests and staff.
Update: Since its original publication in the OBK monthly newsletter in April 2021, Stacy and Carol secured their own apartment in Barryton, Michigan on June 25, 2021. They received incredible support from Mid-Michigan Community Action Agency’s program for Veterans, assisting them with rent, deposit, household items, as well as Veterans for USA contributing a bed and furniture to furnish their new apartment.
Our Brothers Keeper offers a step toward self-sufficiency for families and individuals experiencing homelessness by providing a safe, faith-based, temporary shelter.
At Our Brother’s Keeper we envision a community where every family and individual enjoy self-sufficient lives secure in their own home
Our Brothers Keeper Shelter |PO Box 1642, 405 S. 3rd Street, Big Rapids, MI 49307 | Shelter Direct: 231.629.8160 Administration: 231.629.8033