“I’d just like to say that we are not all alcoholics and drug addicts. We’re also not illiterate,” smiled Gary, a friendly man who does plumbing work at the Welcome House.
“I’ve always worked hard,” he said. “I’m no slouch.”
Gary used to be a professional plumber before the “economy and the way the cards were dealt” caused him to lose his job and his savings. He is very proud of the work that he and the other residents have put into the construction at the Welcome House. He made it obvious that he is not looking for sympathy or a handout and he is thankful to the Welcome House for their support and helping him to put things in their proper perspective.
“I feel as though it was in the Lord’s plan to bring us all together here,” he added.
One of the more engaging personalities at the Welcome House is a man named Nash who seemed to always be smiling. He is a native of Marion, Ohio and was 17-years-old when the death of his parents left him on his own. He is a former construction worker who fell on hard times - sleeping under bridges, living on the streets, begging and stealing for cash for two years - before he found the Welcome House. He credits Rev. Roy Kibodeaux, the Welcome House church, and the Lord for helping him to get back on the “right track.”
“I grew up thinking that my mother and father were king and queen,” he said. “When they died I didn’t have anyone. I abused drugs and alcohol for a long time. I lived the life of a bad boy but I had no idea that the Lord was so close by me the entire time. Brother Roy took me in. He reached out to me at a time when nobody else would give me a shot.”
Nash got very emotional when discussing what Kibodeaux and the Welcome House have done for him.
“Well I don’t drink or use drugs anymore,” he explained. “Brother Roy showed me who my savior was . . . I really think that without Brother Roy and the Lord I wouldn’t be here today. This place is a magnificent gift from God and the people of this parish. I will always be a part of the church here and I hope to be a part of the Welcome House’s growth. God is truly part of this place.”
Nash, who is hoping to one day further his education, had some advice for anyone who finds themselves in similar circumstances as he experienced.
“When you are looking for answers quit looking outside,” he said. “Look inside yourself, look to the Lord and you will find all the guidance you need.”
Glenn is a native of Tampa, Florida and has only been at the Welcome House for five days. His wife died in July 2009 and he was plagued by alcoholism and drug abuse when he found himself homeless and broke. He was trying to get to Grand Isle to find work when he was picked up on the side of the road by Val Kidodeaux (Roy’s son) who brought him to Welcome House.
“I feel as though God opened up the door for me the past few days,” said Glenn. “These people saved me and now I need to pay them back.”
Glenn said that he thought of Roy Kibodeaux as a “father” and his son Val “like a brother.”
“I’m so much happier and I’ve lost my worries,” he said. “I’ve never seen a place like this . . . the people here have really taken me in and taught me to start loving myself again with the help of the Lord.”
During his travels Glenn was often picked up by police who would drive him to the parish line whilc he traveled. Glenn, however, doesn’t quite view the police as one may think.
“I thought they were cops but now I think they may have been angels who helped to steer me towards this place,” he said. “It’s great to reestablish my relationship with the Lord and now that I’m here I’m just going to let Him do his work.”
When asked about his plans for the future Glenn stated that he just wanted to “take things day by day.”
He offered a bit of advice to those who ever found themselves in a situation such as the one he was in less than a week ago.
“Come to the Welcome House.”
Anyone wishing to volunteer their services or make a donation to the Welcome House should contact contact Roy Kibodeax at (337) 739-1355. Those wishing to offer support to the Welcome House’s construction or the “Adopt a room” program should contact Mary Zaunbrecher at (337) 207-9789.
There will be more on the Welcome House residents in tomorrow’s edition.