“I’ve lost a lot in the past decade,” says St. John’s guest Ron Pukel, “and I’m crawling my way out.”

On November 1, 2020, Ron was faced with the devastating reality that he had become homeless. While a friend was helping him look for an apartment, he wasn’t finding any options, and he ended up at the doors of St. John’s Homeless Shelter’s men’s shelter at the Bay Lake City Center. He was feeling hopeless and depressed.

At Bay Lake, Ron received help to find housing, which he hopes to be able to move to soon. He says that staff and case managers not only fed him and gave him warm clothing, but they also helped to inspire him to get on the right path. Ron says, “St. John’s is wonderful. They have educational and spiritual programs that are beneficial and give me the hope to build myself up. Courtney, Matt and Eugene say things that are inspiring and make me want to get up and come here.” Right now, Ron is feeling more spiritual and more hopeful. When asked what he wants the community to know about St. John’s, he says, “St. John’s is very beneficial, and they help people get their lives back together.”

Ron has also participated in the St. John’s Gives Back community service program. With this program, St. John’s guests volunteer and give back to the community. Ron says, “We need a society that is productive, and we are grateful for the help that we get. Guests do community service projects; we give back at St. John’s anywhere we’re needed.” He adds, “It is the community that is supporting us, we need to give back. It’s an obligation.”

Ron believes that for those wanting to get on the right path, St. John’s has everything one needs to do just that. For Ron, he is coping with losses of the past and looking forward to the new opportunities he now has. He says, “I’m finding the hope to continue.”