Richard Hobbs

“I am a diabetic and forgot to bring my meds, so I almost died. The ambulance driver said, “Nobody dies on my watch.” I lived. When UPMC released me, I was homeless.”

My mom was dying of cancer. She was a nurse for 20 years, and had cancer of the bones. She had moved to Chicago and I was living in Pittsburgh. I wasn’t doing well. I was selling drugs and getting in trouble, and she told me to come. She needed me in the last years of her life because she was terminally ill. I left everything and went to Chicago to be with her in the last year of her life, and I turned my life around. I found Jesus. I bonded with her, and we got to do things together. She chose to go home and die. She said that she didn’t want to be taking medication, on radiation, so she gave it all up. The doctor gave her 7-10 days to live. She died on the seventh day.

In the meantime, I met a young lady in church. We got married and stayed together seven years. Then she got a job as a trainer and fell in love with her client. I was angry, jealous, and so hurt that I left. I didn’t take medicine. I didn’t take money. I didn’t take my car. I just got on a train and came back to my home in Pittsburgh, which left me homeless.

It was January, freezing cold. I am a diabetic and forgot to bring my meds, so I started to get faint and almost died. The guys at the shelter were taking bets that I wouldn’t make it through the day. The ambulance told me, said, “You know, they’re taking bets on whether or not you’d make it except that nobody dies on my watch.” The ambulance brought me to UPMC. It saved my life. I lived. They gave my medicine, and when they released me I was homeless. I didn’t have a place to stay.

I had no place to sleep. I got warmth from libraries, but I didn’t have a place to lay my head, and so in the morning, I came to Shepherd’s Heart. I got some donuts and some coffee, but I was shivering. The cold had gotten to my bones, and I was getting sick. The man downstairs said, “Well, if you’re a veteran, we’ll let you stay here and get your life back together.” The Shepherd’s Heart Veterans changed my life. That was about six months ago. I’ve been looking for an apartment ever since. I thank God that I was allowed to share the experience of coming to Shepherd’s Heart. They gave me clothes. They gave me love and care. They helped me turn my life around and try to find a permanent place to live.

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