“I have two daughters, aged 10 and 13. I moved up here with them and their mother. We were staying in Hellertown. We got evicted from our apartment. My wife was able to take the girls and move in with a friend, and I moved into the Mission. I was just happy they had a place to go.”
George is 65 years old, and he has a colorful history. His first stay at the Mission was in July 2010. He had decided to hitchhike from Allentown to Florida, but after a few snags, including torrential rains, a sheriff took him to the Allentown Police Department where he was given a voucher for the Mission. He stayed for about one week.
When he tells the story of his life he never stops smiling. George may have fallen on hard times, but they don’t get the best of him. He was born in Florida and had a childhood like many of us. He attended Florida State for one year, but he “majored in fun.” He took a job as a truck driver on a citrus grove. In 1973 he enlisted in the U.S. Army. He spent most of the next 11 years in Europe driving military trucks, as well as working as a liaison, (George speaks German).
He returned to the States on Christmas Eve, 1986. He spent the next 25 years seeing most of America from the vantage point of a tractor trailer.
“There is a sense of brotherhood here at the Mission. Everybody here has been through something. And the staff are good to me. There is security and stability here. And whatever your situation is, you’ll be better off here than on the street. My health has improved since I came here.”
George collects social security, but he is planning on working for the Clean Team on a limited basis. “It’ll get me off my rear end, and I need that.”