Jim grew up a city boy on the West side of Chicago, but he has come to love his small-town life here in Festus. In 1995, Jim knew he needed to make a lifestyle change and boarded a bus in Chicago and headed to a new life in St. Louis. What started as a 30-day recovery program with Step into the Light turned into 4 years of ministry. Jim served his way all the way up to being that ministry’s director before going to Today’s Lost Children and then working for Service Master.
He has a few shattered disks in his back from tussles in his early years, but managed to work hard and serve others for a long time despite his pain. When he had multiple seizures and arthritis set in on his joints, Jim had to step back from caring for others. He now lives in Festus and has adjusted to a more peaceful and quiet life where others help care for him. Jim is glad he found DRA and the many avenues of support we have provided for him during the past years.
DRA staff have helped Jim to apply for Circuit Breaker tax credits to help pay his housing costs. DRA also provide support for Jim to manage his own in-home personal care attendants through the Consumer Directed Services program. He has three attendants that come to help him for a total of 10 hours each month. Brenda is a laundry wiz. Michelle is a master chef and sets him up with meals for the week. Cynthia is a 75-year-old little powerhouse that is still going strong and keeps Jim’s apartment spic and span. It’s just enough help to keep him able to live on his own and stay happy and independent.
As a member of the DRA family, Jim has an Independent Living Specialist who checks in on him at least once a month. “It means a lot that Lauren calls regularly just to see if I need anything. This time I needed a new shower chair, and you got one for me.”
Since he has no car, Jim uses DRA transportation to get to his doctors and to food pantries and stores. “DRA is great. They (DRA’s drivers) are on time and very courteous. When they say they will be there, they are there. I have used (other services) and they just leave me for hours.”
Recently Jim’s foot was infected and got so bad that one of his toes was amputated. He relied on DRA’s support and transportation all through this process. He also managed to remain positive through it all. Jim loves to collect eagle statues. He has hundreds that “keep an eye” on his apartment, and perhaps he has learned to soar high like those eagles to gain perspective on his life. Rising above his problems helps him stay content. He is still here. He has all that he needs.
Jim’s perspective helps him see that he has a happy life with friends who care about him. And he still finds ways to care for others. Today he takes care of his fat Chihuahua-mix puppy Delilah and his room full of exotic plants. He cares for God’s creation and finds fulfillment far from the city lights that were once his home.