A man in his mid-40’s, sitting quietly ... lost and alone ... nearly obscured in the thick brush in the desert, near Lake Havasu City. But by God’s grace, two of our workers, during a homeless outreach search, found him alone sitting in the dirt.
They stopped and offered help. Travis was quiet, a little wary. Our workers gave him a tent, a sleeping bag, a backpack with water and a hygiene kit, and arranged to pick him up the next day.
That morning, one of the workers returned with another colleague and took Travis to breakfast. He seemed almost in shock that someone was caring for him....
Then they got him a shower and fresh clothes. Finally, they loaded him up with enough food to get through the night back at his camp in the brush.
But that night our worker, Susan Harris, couldn’t sleep. Something was nagging at her, deep down inside. She had helped countless homeless people over the years, but for some unknown reason, she couldn’t stop thinking about this soft-spoken, cautious desert-dweller.
Susan got up, went online, and typed in a search: Travis’ name, and the word “missing.”
And there it was — a whole page about Travis. His family in California had been desperately searching for him.
He had served in the Persian Gulf War, then wandered the country, from Florida to the West Coast and points in between. In Texas six years ago, during one of the worst wildfires in history, he had been badly burned — and emerged disoriented, not knowing where he was, or where to go....
Travis’ mother hadn’t seen him in 25 years.
Stunned, Susan immediately contacted Travis’ mother to give her the beautiful news. His mother poured out her gratitude. Her son had been found!
But then it was time to ask Travis the critical question ... six simple words, but hugely important words for someone who’s lost: “Do you want to go home?”
Maybe he wouldn’t. Maybe he was running from his past. Maybe he was too scared. Too ashamed. Too beaten down by life to face his own family. Maybe he was too confused, too traumatized by homelessness, to make such a decision. Maybe it had simply been too long.
Susan looked into his face. His tired eyes rose to meet her. Decades of loneliness and despair seemed to blink away in an instant. Travis almost smiled. “Sure!” he replied.
Soon Susan and her husband were with Travis at the airport ... where a mom embraced her boy for the first time in 25 years.
“Her son was once again safe in her arms,” Susan says. “God did for them what they could not do for themselves.”
He did it through you. Your faithful, generous support of Catholic Charities here in Arizona enabled us to reach out to Travis, provide the immediate care he most urgently needed — and change the trajectory of his life. You expressed God’s matchless love in a powerful, practical way. You gave him the gift of a whole new life.
And he is only one of many thousands of people in need, right here in our state, whose lives are being
touched by your love through Catholic Charities.
If you give today so we can help people like Travis, there is still time for your gift to qualify for the 2016 Arizona Foster Care Charitable Tax Credit, which expires April 18: You can give as much as $500 if you file singly, or $1,000 filing jointly, and receive a dollar-for-dollar credit on your 2016 taxes. In other words, you can essentially donate for free!
Be a part of our work today—and help create miracles like the one Travis and his mother experienced through your generosity.