Reconnecting Homeless to Family with Ron Hooks – Episode 6

Reuniting Homeless Individuals - Episode 6Pastor Ron Hook’s 26 years of working with the unsheltered gives him a unique perspective on those experiencing homelessness. He talks with host Robert Strock and guest host Shelley Pearce about some of his personal turning points that led him to devoting his life to helping the unsheltered. His organization, West Coast Care, often fills a gap between what other organizations offer and what the unsheltered need to reconnect with family, find meaningful employment, or move forward in their recovery journey. A compassionate heart lies at the center of his work and will move listeners to seek ways they, too, can relieve the suffering of people who may find themselves down on their luck.

 

 

Mentioned in this episode
Providence House Rehabilitation Center
West Coast Care
Exodus Recovery
OPCC
Venice Family Clinic
Salvation Army
Clare|Matrix
Upward Bound House
Step Up on Second
The Global Bridge Foundation

Note: Below, you’ll find timecodes for specific sections of the podcast. To get the most value out of the podcast, I encourage you to listen to the complete episode. However, there are times when you want to skip ahead or repeat a particular section. By clicking on the timecode, you’ll be able to jump to that specific section of the podcast

Transcript
Announcer: (00:00)
The Missing Conversation, Episode Six.

Ron Hooks: (00:03)
it’s really dangerous out there. It’s not safe. It’s not safe being homeless.

Announcer: (00:12)
On this podcast. We will propose critical new strategies to address world issues, including homelessness, immigration among several others and making a connection to how our individual psychology contributes and can help transform the dangers that we face. We will break from traditional thinking. As we look at our challenges from a freer and more independent point of view. Your host Robert Strock has had 45 years of experience as a psychotherapist, author, and humanitarian, and has developed a unique approach to communication, contemplation and inquiry born from working on his own challenges.

Robert Strock: (00:50)
So thank you very much for joining us again at The Missing Conversation today. We’re going to have the immense honor of speaking with Pastor Ron Hooks, who is an ordained Bishop. He’s been in the ministry for 32 years. And for the last 26 years, he’s dedicated his life to helping the homeless. Originally from North Carolina, Pastor Ron moved to San Francisco in 1994, he pastored and worked in the inner city of San Francisco’s Tenderloin District for 12 years. He was the co-founder and executive director of Providence House Rehabilitation Center. And he also served as an adjunct professor at Patton University in Oakland, California, Pastor Ron, and his wife, Lenore founded West Coast Care, a nonprofit charity here in Santa Monica in 2006 West Coast Care specializes in helping people reconnect with family and travel home, locate housing, and transitional services and or treatment programs and or find employment.

Robert Strock: (02:03)
I’d also like to introduce Shelley. Who’s been my dear friend for 12 years and also on the board at The Global Bridge Foundation and has also been involved with Pastor Ron’s work and the program right here on the beach, right out in front of where we are. So Pastor Ron welcome. I’m really glad to have you.

Ron Hooks: (02:26)
Thank you, Rob and, uh, this is, uh, uh, a great privilege to be with you and Shelley today. And, uh, you know, I’d just like to give you a quick shout out, thank you for your support and help to our organization. And, uh, Shelley’s done a couple round longs with me and spent, uh, some of our events. And then thank you, Shelley, for being such a good friend, uh, to the work we’re doing.

Shelley Pearce: (02:53)
It is an honor. Thank you.

Robert Strock: (02:55)
I just want to say Ron. I really appreciate that. Thank you.

Ron Hooks: (02:58)
Thank you.

Robert Strock: (02:59)
Yeah. Could you give us a bit of a history of both how you started and what motivated you to do this work?

Ron Hooks: (03:07)
Yeah, so, um, uh, why don’t I just start with how we came to San Francisco? I mean, how we came to Santa Monica. Um, I actually visited here on vacation in 2005 and I’d never been to this area at all. And, um, uh, you know, I’ve been working with the homeless and the inner city of San Francisco for about 11 years at that point. And, um, I was, I was, uh, it just got hold of me. I, we went out on the beach, you know, I’m from North Carolina. We used to go into Myrtle beach and places like that in the summer, you came in on the beach, it was like 10 o’clock in the morning and we were expecting, you know, the place just to be crowded with umbrellas and beach balls and all these things. And, and we got up there and we looked down the beach and all we saw was people who were homeless or experiencing homelessness. And it just got away with me. I, um, I wasn’t expecting that. And you know, we’ve been in the inner city of San Francisco in the Tenderloin District and there, I expect, you know, you expect to see people in poverty and people living on the streets and stuff, but, uh, I was, it really got hold of me. So over the next year I wound up coming back down here like five times. And, uh, every time I got a chance, I came back down here trying to figure it out. And finally, my wife says, you are not going to be happy until we move are you? And that was, that was how we actually got here. Then we came here with the intention of opening up a resource center and maybe a rehab like we had in the Tenderloin District of San Francisco. And I was just walking the streets, downtown Santa Monica, looking for a building, you know, day after, day after, day after we moved here. And I couldn’t, uh, couldn’t find anything. And, um, and we’ve been doing that about a month. And, um, it was really weird. Like in the same week I had like five people who were experiencing homelessness said the same thing to, and they’re like, who, who are you? You know, what, what you, you keep coming by and you checking on us and talking to us, but who are you? And I said, well, you know, we’re looking for a building, we’re going to try to do something here.

Ron Hooks: (05:19)
And they literally, it’s like they got together with the same answer and said, why do you think you need a building? And I’ll say, well, you know, we were trying to do this resource center. And they said, um, well, what you’re doing now is working. And I said, well, what am I doing now? And I said, you come here every day and you check on us and you ask us how we’re doing. He said, we really appreciate it. It’s making a difference. So I went home, um, told my wife, said, I’m not looking for a building and more for a, and just make the calls, but, and I’m just going to keep going, walking, downtown, talking to everybody. And, uh, back then outreach, wasn’t really a thing. And, um, I didn’t even know it, know it, but we created an outreach program. I mean, that’s what we did.

Ron Hooks: (06:05)
And then we started helping people and get them off the streets and getting them home and doing all these things. And it just turned into this amazing thing. And we’re just glad to be a part of it now.

Robert Strock: (06:18)
Great. Yeah. And I know you’re doing a lot more detail now, as, as it unfolds, maybe you give us an example or two of, sort of a start to progression just to give us a feel for what you’re really, um, uh, what you’re doing and the kind of contact you’re making with folks and, and, and how you really make it work.

Ron Hooks: (06:43)
Yeah. So, um, there’s a guy that I know he actually doesn’t mind if I mentioned his name, his name’s Bill Collins, and I’ve been talking to Bill few days and he was one of these long time people been here a while, about over a decade.

Ron Hooks: (06:59)
And, um, his health was declining, he’s power drinker, a lot of things going on. And I was like, bill, we, you know, we have to do something. And, uh, so what happened in this building, this relationship, what I do is I always say, you know, good morning, uh, would you like a water? Would you like . . . Shelley, you know where I’m going with this, she’s seen it like a hundred times, but we, we call it the friendly approach and counseling it’s called the client centered approach, but we try to win their trust. That will become our primary goal. First is to be a friend. And then we’ve learned that if we can be a friend that people open up and, you know, they’ll tell us things, we don’t have to wait a year for them to tell us anyway. And I was like, Bill, you’ve got this.

Ron Hooks: (07:40)
And I said, you know, you’re not going to make it, man. And he said, well, you know, I’ve heard what you say that I’d love to go home, but I can’t go home. He said, my dad told me that he never wanted to see me again, as long as he lived. And I said, Bill, I would like for your dad to tell me that. And he said, oh, well, he would. And I’ll I said, well, give me his phone number and I’m going to call him right now. And Bill said, no, no, no, don’t don’t no, no. And I said, well do you remember his number? And he said, yeah. And I said, well, give me his number. You leave. I wait about 30 minutes or so. And I’ll call him. So he’s gonna say, meet me right here tomorrow. So anyway, I called his dad and he was in Florida.

Ron Hooks: (08:17)
He talks like me. He had a Southern drawl, answers this is, his dad answers the phone. Um, and you know, hello. And I said, uh, Hey brother, I said to you, do you know somebody by the name of Bill Collins? And he said, yes, he’s my son. Is he still alive? And I said, yeah. And then started talking to him and, and I said, how long has it been since you’ve heard from him? And he said, it’s been at least 10 years. And I said, let me ask you this, sir. I said, do you think it would ever be possible for Bill to come back home? And he said, you tell my son that he is always welcome at my house. And, uh, so, uh, we talked a little bit more and I told him that I would, um, get him on a bus.

Ron Hooks: (09:05)
And then he said, no, no, no, no, no, no son of mine is going to ride the bus home. He say, if he wants to come home, I’ll buy an airline ticket. Anyway, so the next day Bill’s waiting on me. He said, you talked to my dad. I said, I did. He said, what did he say? And when I’ve told him what his dad said about he was always welcome, he put his head down and he looked up at me and his eyes were full of water. And I said, buddy, he also said, when I told him about the not going to ride a bus, he’s going to fly him home and Bill started crying. And he said, how could I have been so wrong about my dad? No see Bill that’s what happens out here. But you know, little things become big things and you focus in on it and it gets misinterpreted. Anyway we got him home and um, I followed up on him and a few times he was doing really well. His dad had a, uh, an orange Grove orange. Uh, they grew oranges and, um, lost track of him a little bit. And a few years went by and he sent me a card at Christmas. He said, I’m still working for my dad living close by. Thank you so much for helping me get home.

Robert Strock: (10:23)
Well, it’s a tear, tear, jerking story. I see Shelley, Shelley feeling the same way as I do. It’s just the hard contact, the sole contact that you’re making with these people is, uh, is everything, it’s really, it’s really everything. And then just being able to reach out to a father and, you know, heal that misunderstanding, really a moving story.

Shelley Pearce: (10:49)
I just have to say being on these rides with Ron and, and, uh, witnessing him, converse with people, you know, people are experiencing homeless, homelessness. He is, um, masterful in his approach in the friendliness and, you know, giving people, uh, a choice of a granola taste of a granola bar chocolate, peanut butter oat bran is like, it draws people in. And the next thing you know, he’s talking about, you know, some, some sort of intervention to help get them home. And, uh, I mean, it’s, it’s really, it’s almost impossible. Not, not to get teary when, when you have conversations with these people and hear their stories and realize that so many of them are, are really just down on their luck. And oftentimes they’re sleeping on the beach, but they brushed the sand off and get up and take a bus downtown and go to work. And, um, I just, you know, I been so inspired by the work. And, uh, Ron, Ron knows every time I go out, I ended up holding back tears. And I know the last time that we went out Ron, um, it was the first time that I’ve, that I really sensed, uh, that you were sort of holding back tears. And, um, I don’t know if you remember, you know, this moment, but, um, just, I don’t know if you’d be willing to talk about, um, what happened recently with someone on the beach?

Ron Hooks: (12:25)
How are you Shelley? You know, it’s, to me, the people asked me why I do what I do, and it’s really dangerous out there. It’s not safe. It’s not safe being homeless, um, without shelter and even people living in tents, there’s no way a piece of fabric, you know, 1/30 seconds of an inch thick is going to protect you from anything. If somebody is trying to get you or harm you, if you’re inside, even inside of a tent. But, um, even, um, I hate to even say this, but, um, yesterday we found another person on the beach that was dead.

Ron Hooks: (13:05)
Um, we didn’t know him as well, or he’d only been there. We’d only met him twice before and he was a power drinker. And, uh, we, we still don’t know what happened to him yet, but we found him yesterday morning. And, um, but anyway, the, you know, it’s like I had another one, another person that passed away three months ago and his name was Joshua. And we were working with this guy and he was so, he was brave, he was gifted, he could talk, he could hold his own intellectually on any conversation. You and I just, uh, just mentioning that weekend to my wife. I was, I was telling her about some of the people we’re working with. And I’ll say, there’s this one guy that said he is just absolutely brilliant. He’s down on his luck right now. He’s 34 years old and this, this and this.

Ron Hooks: (13:52)
And he, um, had a little notebook that I always made little notes when I thought think of something and he saw my notebook and he said, Hey, would you bring me one of those? And I said, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. So, um, that morning, uh, you know, we have, uh, Josh and Jenna also worked with me out there and, uh, Josh is my son and Jenna is his wife and they’re doing a great job. And anyway, I said, Hey, if you see Joshua, I’m going to give you this book because you’re going that way first. And it’s like, he wants this book. And, um, they’re the ones that found him and he was laying on the beach and they didn’t look like any foul play. There was no empty beer cans or anything, nothing around, he was just laying there and, uh, such a tragedy, you know, Rob somebody, somebody, um, one time they was critical of us and they said, well, this, this, and this, if it was, I would do this, this and this with the homeless people experiencing homelessness. And, uh, you know, the question a lot of times I hear this question, well, you know, you’re a pastor or I’m not, you know, what do you know, what do you expect of me? And I’ll say, well, I have learned that compassion can be taught. And they’re like, what? I said, yeah, compassion can actually be taught. And I said, it’s all, it’s really a matter of perspective. And they say, well, what does that mean? And I’m like, well, this is what I’m trying to say. And I had this guy and he said, you know, if it was up to me, he said, you know, I’d take all the homeless I, I take a bulldozer, I’d dig a big hole and push them in and cover them up. And I said, well, I said, sir, would you do that if one of those people was your daughter? And when he, when I said that he put his head down, he and he looked up and he said, I don’t know why I just said that. He said, I don’t know why I said that. And I said, that’s the way I look at it is that these people belong to somebody that there somebodies cousin, friend, neighbor, son, daughter, even mother, father, and I said this. The one guy said, well, what, you know, they said, ah, you know, the homeless and they were, really didn’t have much good to say about homelessness, and I said, but would you want somebody like me out there looking for them, if it was one of your kids? And he said, I would. So it’s perspective, it’s perspective. I think the contrast of, of those two stories, um, and unfortunately how a lot of our society is in denial of death and dying and risk.

Robert Strock: (16:40)
And they have privilege that the suffering of not having privilege and so to go right into the teeth of it, you can’t help, but have some moments of transformation, like your first story, and then moments of complete heartbreak. And that’s the price of doing what you’re doing. And so that’s why people in general, aren’t doing it because they really can’t handle, uh, the loss, uh, or the outreach. And, and as you’re saying, I think it can be taught. And we just got off of another podcast and we’re talking with somebody, talking about the main problem, being lack of coordination in the city bodies, between themselves, that they aren’t linking between the funding and the regulations and, and the housing and the requirements of the housing and legislation. And I would just love to see you on being on that committee, uh, to, to, to be a representative of, of the heart in, as part of the, the elements that are needed in whatever kind of state level, uh, efforts we’re making to really address the homeless from 25 different directions.

Robert Strock: (17:53)
You’re doing it in one very, very profound direction, very straightforward, heartfelt approach with a lot of practical tenants that you’re offering. Um, and other people are really doing it with housing and, and temporary housing or permanent housing and different kinds. But, but I think that the, the passing on the, trying to link with other groups and coordinate with, with other powers that be to really have this be a comprehensive, complicated series of solutions is was is needed. So I’m nominating you, whether you like it or not in that group. Um, how, how are you supported financially and what are your greatest needs? And please do tell us how, uh, how you would be reached.

(18:40)
Okay. So, um, number one, the best way to communicate with us is just go to our website is westcoastcare.org. And it has on our contact page, has all of my information. It has my cell phone number and mailing address and where you can meet us if you’re looking for us and all those things. And, uh, you know, we, we, uh, we believe that we have figured out pretty good program that really does effectively reduce homelessness. And we’re, we’re proud of the work that we get to do. We get to help so many people when, you know, a lot of times we’re making first contact with people as they come to this area. And because we do have a lot of partners, we, I just counted up, uh, before this meeting, uh, there’s 20, we have 23 local agencies that we partner with almost on a daily basis. So what we do, we try to help people reconnect with family. If we can do that, uh, we, uh, you know, we will get them a bus ticket home or a plane ride home and, um, McDonald gift cards for food on the road or some travel expense.

Ron Hooks: (19:47)
And, uh, so we, we are, you know, when then it, maybe that’s not a possibility right now, and we’re going to help you try to find housing locally, you know, programs, um, jobs and on and on and on. So we are only limited by our resources. We can, we can expand, extend, extend this as far as you want to go. And, uh, we let everybody know that we have, what’s called a flex funds. So this is one of the big ways that we help the other agencies is that, so they, maybe they, uh, just this week, we’ve helped Exodus twice. People it’s been an Exodus Recovery, which is, you know, has a mental health component to it. And if they have one of their patients wants to go home, then we network with them and make that connection. We did that twice this week, but we also, we, we have this flex fund that dislike salvation army, they had a person that needed to get back to Philadelphia. It was in a car and, um, we were able to help them with gas money. We’ve put tires on cars, drive shafts on motor homes, done all kinds of things. So I’m the, uh, I’m, I’m a guy you can’t see it right now, but I actually wear about 15 hats, uh, um, I’m the CEO, the president outreach and janitor, and, you know, 12 other things. So, but, uh, if, uh, I’ll say all that to say that if you, if you call me and you have a person you’re working with, and it makes sense, that’s going to get them off the streets, we’re going to, we’re going to make it happen. And we try to have the resources available to do that. So to your listeners and to your question of, we’re only limited by the resources that we have on the amount of people that we can.

Robert Strock: (21:33)
And you also have some Santa Monica City help as well. Right?

Ron Hooks: (21:37)
We do. We, um, for the last 12 years, we received a grant from the city of Santa Monica, about 30% of our yearly budget comes from that one. We make it up with that one grant, and then we are serious fundraisers, uh, for the remainder of our budget. And, um, you know, just the shout out to all of your audience, that if somebody is interested in even doing a ride along with me, uh, you know, hear, hear, and see more about what we do firsthand, you know, they can contact me through the website. We have to talk to them about that.

Robert Strock: (22:14)
That’s great. Um, I would ask you in the spirit of, of what I was saying earlier, if, if you would send a list of those people that are partners that you value, there are all of us that are working together that, that, uh, maybe are listening or, or just you and I and Shelley, um, to be able to know the players that are, are really wanting to play a role in having them come together, the empowerment of, of communicating with each other is, is enormous. So I think anyone that’s listening and for you and I let’s, let’s make sure that we do that.

Ron Hooks: (22:51)
Exactly. Exactly. Well, you know, just, I mean, again, we, so we have, like, we look at things this way, like we have categories, like, okay, so if you’re a younger, we’re gonna, you know, if, if you need immediate help, you need maybe, um, uh, let’s . . . just food, uh, maybe you need a sleeping bag or something, you’re younger, we’re going to send you to spy. If you’re, if you’re kind of in the middle age group, we’re going to connect you to people concerned or OPCC is there, we’re formally known, you’re longer, we’re going to St. Joseph’s center. If you need medical, Venice Family Clinic, uh, on and on, you know, Salvation Army treatment, Clair treatment, Upward Bound House, a single family, a single parent, uh, we’re going to try and get you into housing, um, you know, uh, Step Up on Second incredible organization.

Ron Hooks: (23:40)
And we on, like I said, we, uh, uh, I’d like to say this, so we learned this lesson in San Francisco. We will network with anybody that’ll network with us. We don’t, we don’t have a real high standard on calls. We’ve learned, we’ve learned that we can’t do everything. And the more people we have involved, just like your organization, the way you’ve helped us. It’s amazing that how, uh, we can all bring a little bit to the table. And, you know, like I say, we’ve kind of become known as the gap agency that when you just can’t get it done, maybe, you know, you might even have the resources, but it’s going to take too long to get it approved through the chain of command that we’re able to step in and get it done. And, you know, we’re, we get excited about that, that we can, we can do that.

Robert Strock: (24:29)
It’s probably a pretty obvious question, but maybe, maybe not. Um, but I’m wondering what really touches and inspires you the most, uh, in, in the work itself, just really, I know it’s about, about them, uh, about, about the others being cared for, but if there’s any way that you would articulate that might be universal, that would tap, tap the audience listeners, because you seem like you have a very universal heart.

Ron Hooks: (24:59)
Well, I think that, um, for me, when I, so it’s not all, you know, sunshine and roses out there for us, you know, and, um, uh, sometimes, you know, we get yelled at and things like that, and somebody is having a bad day and they kind of want to take it out on you a little bit. Um, you know, I had one guy, one day, he really, uh, what we say got in my face and to the point and I had to drive off.

Ron Hooks: (25:27)
And, but then a couple of weeks goes by and he comes and finds me in our meeting spot. And he said, Hey, I just want to know if you’ll forgive me. And I said, man, I forgive you the day it happened. And he said, that was the tequila talking that wasn’t me. And I said, I sort of figured that. And I said, bro, I’m here for you. Um, that to answer your question, um, when you have what I call a golden moment, when you know that, because you stopped and you did take a moment with somebody, and then you feel that connection that you are . . . have actually are, you are impacting their life in a significant way right now, it’s happening right now. And if you hadn’t been there, what might’ve happened and that’s, that’s the driving motivating force behind what we do is that we just know we’re reaching people that nobody else is reaching at least, uh, where might be the first person to reach them.

Ron Hooks: (26:29)
And when you make that connection and you feel it. And, but I also have to say that my bedroom, it reminds me looking, looking back at my life that, um, I realized that if it hadn’t been for the four or five people that showed up in my life, at the right time, then I wouldn’t even be talking to you right now. And, um, you know, I just, I know that, uh, that when you get that moment and you, and you just wait on it, you can’t, you know, it’s like it happened again. And, uh, Rob, uh, this is really cool. Uh, I have probably had this happen to me 50 times, at least if not a hundred where somebody said, I was just thinking about everything and I’m, I’m ready to give up. I actually had one guy that said, after I got through talking to him, uh, he was an army, he was in the army, had been discharged. Um, he was suffering PTSD and he came out to the beach to kill himself. And I didn’t know that. And, um, he called me later and he said, uh, he actually called me wanting to meet me and gave him, gave me a shirt that had Army on it, US Army. And he said, I gotta tell you a story. And I was like, I was like, yeah, let’s, let me hear your story. And he said, you’re going to like this one. He said, you know, the day you said, all you did was give me a candy bar and a bottle of water, he said, you saved my life that day. I said, what? He said, I said, what, what happened? He said, you were nice to me. He said, I just needed somebody to be nice that day.

Ron Hooks: (28:08)
So that’s it, that’s it. We, we, we pray. We were there believing for the golden moments that we were there, like a nirvana appointment, to make a difference in somebody’s life.

Robert Strock: (28:20)
So heart-centered in your response and part of the subtlety of what you said was, you know, it was the tequila talking, um, or it was a conditioning, or it was a situation that happened, but it’s not you. It seems to me that you see the essence and the soul of every individual that you’re talking to. And like you said, you forgave them in the moment. Um, it’s just a simple, but unfortunately not always obvious that, to want to be loved and to love, what else is there. And, you know, it seems like you have a natural way of just beaming into people’s love and your love for people’s love. And it’s it just transmits.

Robert Strock: (29:07)
So I, I think for all of us and for all the programs that, that are out there, that’s the spirit of community. That’s the spirit of connection that we’re all aspiring to do. I know at Global Bridge, that’s what we’re trying to do, and that’s why we’re really drawn to you. So thank you so much for your, your way of giving and, um, and being.

Ron Hooks: (29:28)
Yeah, and brother, uh, thank you for what y’all are doing, man. It’s so awesome. Just to network with you guys and, um, we’re, we’re pulling for you, man. We just believing for incredible success for you guys, the work that you’re doing and about to do that, it just opens up. We, we say, we pray for the open door.

Robert Strock: (29:49)
Exactly. And, and, and I think that’s exactly what’s needed is a lot of open doors. And I, when you say your criteria is, is not exactly, uh, very strict for a partnership, um, I think that’s a lot of what’s needed, um, as long as somebody is not harmful, um, and they really have the intent to help. Uh, that’s a lot of what we need to do in Los Angeles, so we’re really going to continue to, even expand our efforts to be bridging, because it seems that the division between the funders and the state and the building department and all the, all the bureaucracy, somehow we’ve got to find a way to have the communication really be effective so that the heart-centered standard approaches, the multiple heart-centered approaches in housing, exactly, can come together.

Ron Hooks: (30:38)
Exactly. Exactly.

Robert Strock: (30:41)
So, Shelley, you, anything you wanted to say anything more?

Shelley Pearce: (30:45)
Well, one thing I would ask Ron is, you know, uh, I’ve, you know, I’ve met your son and his wife are out there on the beach. Um, and, and for those who are listening, they, they have a few sort of dune buggy like Jeeps that ride on the sand, and they basically, uh, approach every person that’s sleeping on the beach every morning in Santa Monica. And, um, as you said, it’s not, it’s not exactly easy work, um, but it’s quite brilliant what you do. And, and for me to have, uh, you know, your son who’s in his thirties, I guess, and his wife, and, you know, along, along on this journey with you, I just wonder how you, uh, inspire that in your son, right? This, you know, sort of, um, desire to give back to, to do service. How, how, how did you do that?

Ron Hooks: (31:41)
Um, I think we, this is actually, you know, um, one of those, I guess a teachable moment again, and, um, I believe it’s the way you train your kids, that, um, Josh was serving hotdogs at the church when he was nine years old. And, um, so he’s had in his heart for a long time and then of course, when he got older, he could have made a decision to not, you know, not do that, but, um, it was something that he saw and that he, uh, just like me, he realized that his life could make a difference in somebody else’s life. And for us then, you know, they’ve heard this their whole life is that the only thing that matters is how many people did you help? And we say that all the time and, um, when it just comes across and, you know, um, and so for him, uh, he’s a real tough customer to fool out there because he’s been at it since he was nine.

Ron Hooks: (32:44)
You know, he, uh, he kinda knows, uh he’s uh he’s uh, what would you say streetwise? And that is, that asset is, um, it helps a lot of people and, uh, it’s like, no, bro, that’s, you know, let’s, let’s, let’s have the real conversation. That’s not a real conversation, but, uh, and then, uh, Jenna, uh, uh, just follow this, Rob, that Jenna Joseph’s wife has been working with us full time for a couple of years now. Um, when I was, she rode with me, uh, I was intentional about training her from what she could see what I did and then, and then, but she rides with Josh now every day. But, uh, we had a guy that we were just having the biggest time you’ve ever seen, we were just having a great day and then this guy, um, said something to me that was very, uh, we had, this is say it had a lot of adjectives and, uh, and, uh, demonstrative adjectives.

Ron Hooks: (33:45)
And I looked at Jenna and she had this look on her face, like, take me back to my car, I’m done. And then I said, Hey, Jenna, he doesn’t know this, but I’m going to be his best friend one day. And she started laughing and I said, that’s what I tell myself every time. So yeah, that, that message, you know, of how many people you help in your life really is what you, what you take with you. And what, what really matters is a wonderful spirit for us to, uh, to really sign off with, to stay with and hopefully be able to pass on to not only those that we love, but those that, uh, might be using a lot of adjectives.

Robert Strock: (34:38)
I appreciate, I appreciate so much that spirit in you. And, uh, thank you so much for joining us on the podcast and, uh, look forward to really uniting as much as possible, not only with you and yours and me and mine and Shelley and, um, and I think that’s what we need to do to try to make some sense, not only, not only out of homelessness, but out of all the other struggles that are going on in our country as well. Amen.

Ron Hooks: (35:04)
Hey, well, listen, thank you, Rob and Shelley so much for this invitation and I’m looking forward to the future with great anticipation of this, uh, this year, uh, that we help more people than we ever helped before. And we do that together.

Robert Strock: (35:19)
Sounds great. Thanks so much.

Ron Hooks: (35:21)
Thank you. I’ll see you soon.

 

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