I met aspecial man on Saturday night. His name is Roosevelt Terry. He has dark brown eyes and dark brown skin. He is an amputee that lost both legs from diabetes and is in a wheel chair. Oh yes, and he is homeless.
Our team walked in the rain for an hour before we spotted Roosevelt. He was in his wheel chair, so cold and wet, smelt of alcohol, and seemed very sad.
It was an honor to offer him gloves and then put them on his hands. I stooped low so we could make eye contact. As we talked I learned many things about Roosevelt, including that he was in a lot of pain. He had fallen a few months ago and then fallen again the day before. He was hurting.
I told him a few things: that he could trust us, we cared about him, we would do everything we could to help him.
And he did, he trusted us—a first step.
He let us call the church for help, he let us load him in the van in the rain, he rode back to an unknown church with four strangers. He held my hand on the ride and with tearful eyes kept asking me, “Why would you care for me? I’m just a drunk.” Again and again I wiped his tears with my hand.
Roosevelt was brave last night! That’s why I am adding him to my growing list of “NY Heroes.”
When we returned to the church later, we discovered that the medical personnel that tended to him later called 911. They took him to a nearby hospital because his condition was critical, but they weren’t sure to which hospital.
After an hour of phone calling on Sunday morning I found him! I later met a Redeemer guy from our team and we went to visit him. What a special visit we had, too. When we walked in his room he was reading scripture. He said we were the only ones who knew where he was and he was so grateful we came.
We learned more about him. He is 58, has a daughter, grandchildren, a brother and an aunt. He’s from Jacksonville, FL, and he grew up in church.
We paid to get the semi-private room phone turned on so he could call his family. Paid to have the TV turned on so he could watch the Super Bowl, too. He was humble and grateful.
He still wondered why we cared, what made us come to him. We assured him it was not our idea to walk in the rain through Harlem. Rather, God was trying to reach out to him, was pursuing him. He then shared many stories of how God had sent others to him too. Many of their names were written in the small, white pocket New Testament that he keeps in his coat pocket.
He showed me one note from someone he had saved for years. It simply said, “God loves You.” As we both looked closer at this weathered note, we realized it was actually an envelope, so we opened it together and there was a $20 bill. He said, “God is providing.”
Pray for Roosevelt, please. Pray for me too. I am the one who needs to keep changing.