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Pierre’s Story

– SUPPORTING PIERRE TO GET HOME STATESIDE 

Look what happens when people work together to help someone in crisis.  This is an amazing story of how over 40 people helped Pierre from sleeping on a Bournemouth street to a veteran’s hospital and accommodation in Atlanta, USA.

Pierre is a US citizen, a veteran serviceman, on crutches because he needs surgery.   Pierre ran out of money and so was living on the streets.  The following team of people (many of whom had never been in contact before) worked tirelessly to ensure Pierre could safely find refuge and a place to settle:

1. Shelter, a housing advice charity, recommended Pierre apply for Sleepsafe winter emergency beds scheme.
2. The Half-time team interviewed him and secured a bed in Sleepsafe
3. Pierre stayed in Sleepsafe for three weeks, supported and fed by people from four churches.
4. His action plan included applying to renew his visa however Border Force refused this, and so the BCARS team went with him to an interview to find out what his options were.  His best choice was to return to the United States however had no finances to pay for the airfare.
5. Our American BCARS team member rang the US embassy  (but no financial help was available while the government was on shutdown).  Staff also made enquiries with other agencies.
6. So, Faithworks’ Communications Lead put out a Facebook call for help.
7. Within 24 hours people pledged at least twice what was needed!
8. A Sleepsafe Champion took Pierre shopping for clothes .
9. Some of our Sleepsafe volunteers made enquiries with their contacts in the US including the Salvation Army, the Methodist church and other churches in the area – one of these churches  offered to help.
10. Our 2nd-half Project Manager then drove Pierre to the airport.
11. Pierre was met at the other end by a church team (who had driven 2 hours to get there).  And they took him to hospital where he has already had X-rays and tests ahead of surgery.

This is what one of the US church members wrote to us:
“I stand amazed at God’s provisions.  Earlier this morning, I asked for assistance in getting a handicapped Veteran from an international flight at the Atlanta Airport to the VA Hospital.  Immediately, my friend Steve stepped up. 
 
Now get this. We only knew the man’s first name and he was coming in from Heathrow around 7:30 PM on Virgin Atlantic/Delta. Our church member Chuck (a Delta employee) stepped up to help us identify the Veteran by name, give us the gate number and arrange for Delta to meet him at the gate, transport him to Baggage Claim.  And give the Veteran the info that Steve will be meeting him and will personally take him to the hospital. 
 
Drew and his staff at CKS Packaging helped use get resource contacts at the VA.  Our church member, Jeff, also said he would meet the flight if Steve couldn’t.  Ann with CKS said she would meet the veteran if needed. 
 
Really ya’ll, it doesn’t take a village. All it takes is God’s people doing the work that God would have us do… even if it is for someone we don’t even know.  Thank you to everyone willing to say “Here I am, Lord. Send me.” 

Sleepsafe changes all our lives!