Here’s a different take on Manteca’s homeless.
Last week, a gentleman dropped by Manteca Ford and asked to see Phil Waterford.
He was a war veteran from America’s War on Terror. He served for 10 years in the Navy and had been injured when a blast occurred near his head resulting in him continuing today to suffer severe headaches from time-to-time.
Waterford was tied up on business and indicated to an assistant he would be with the man shortly. Waterford ended up forgetting, went to lunch and was surprised to see the gentleman still sitting there after waiting 3.5 hours.
Waterford was embarrassed. The delay, though, served a purpose.
The man told Waterford he was working to get back on his feet and help support his wife and four children. After a long wait he had just secured help through a veteran’s assistance program to obtain a home in Manteca. They were grateful even though they did not have furnishings.
At the same time they needed a car. An acquaintance told him that the dealership worked with veterans.
As they were talking, Pastor Mike Dillman of the Place of Refuge happened to walk into the North Main Street dealership. He heard that the veteran had just secured a home but had no furniture and noted that the church by chance that day just had new furniture donated to them. It included enough to furnished the home right down to bunk beds for the kids.
Waterford, who happened to have a car they took in trade that initially they thought was questionable at best due to the condition of its cleanliness, had an offer of his own.
The car — once it was cleaned up and inspected and several things done to it — turned out to be a true diamond in the rough.
The dealership was into it $3,000 on the trade and $1,000 to prepare it for sale. He had discussed with his staff that given the car’s condition and mileage it was a rare find in that they could easily triple the dealership’s investment.
Waterford told the veteran that he could sell him a car.
The veteran noted that he had bad credit prompting Waterford to reply his service to America was his credit.
He ended up taking the money he had invested in the car, dividing it by 36 months and sold it to the veteran interest free.
But the real dividend came for Waterford several days later when he got a thank-you card signed by the Greer family — the veteran, his wife, and their four young children —that was penned in the hand of one of the boys.
It serves as a reminder of the danger of lumping together all homeless. They are homeless out there who are struggling to do the right thing.
The Manteca community through efforts of folks like Phil Waterford, churches and organizations have been doing — and continue to do — what they can to help.