Today, we share a poignant reminder of Nest’s work. Executive Director Harrison Holtkamp shared a heartbreaking experience he endured last week in his role as the Shelter’s Executive Director. His short essay is a sobering reminder of Nest’s mission in the community.

We Were This Close To Saving His Life.

It was last Monday morning at about 12:30 am when I realized that my wife was nudging me, and my phone was ringing. On the phone was the La Porte County Sheriff’s Department asking if we had room for a gentleman they came across in Westville. I said sure and asked the officer what the gentleman’s name was. The next phone call was to my overnight staff member Tim to inform him that the Sheriff’s department was bringing Keith in. These calls are not uncommon. I encourage a close relationship with our emergency responders.

In my morning talk with my overnight staff, I asked how Keith was, and Tim responded that he never showed up. This is also not uncommon; the shelter can be scary to those who have never been here, and change is hard.

I found out later in the day of a fatal hit-and-run accident with a pedestrian in Westville, and my thoughts immediately went to Keith. I started praying, hoping that Keith would find a place to stay. It was Wednesday morning when I found out that Keith was the victim of this accident and chose not to go to the shelter that night. I still find myself praying, but now I am praying for his family and his soul.

Many individuals choose not to utilize a homeless shelter, and their reasons are many. The next time anyone needs us, we will be ready to offer a kind word, a warm smile, a delicious meal (we hope), and loving, compassionate care. We may not have been able to save Keith’s life, but we would have been able to extend it and change the outcome.

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