Abner has been living at St. Herman House for a little more than a year. A few months after arriving, Paul appointed him to be the House driver. Three to four times a week he drives our big cargo van to area grocery stores and picks up fresh food for the House, as part of a partnership between the Greater Cleveland Food Bank, grocery stores, and area nonprofits like St. Herman’s. Abner also drives senior residents of the House to doctor’s appointments, and he provides transportation to all residents as needed for job interviews, housing interviews, case management meetings, and other important matters.
Even though he was born and raised in Cleveland, Abner never knew about St Herman’s or its benefits until “life happened”, he says. Prior to coming to St Herman’s, he met Carl Cook, our Food Service Manager, through another nonprofit, The Metanoia Project. It was there that Abner took Carl’s “Courage to Change” class, which helped give him a sense of duty, discipline, and confidence.
He says living in the House has been a blessing, not only because of having a place to stay and the material assistance provided, but because living in the House gives one a chance to figure things out.
Abner says that part of what makes St. Herman’s unique is the interaction with the community and the fact that each man plays a part in the House. It has helped him develop belief in himself and a sense of responsibility toward others. When people come in for meals, it’s a chance to offer help – whether by providing a grocery bag or just listening. “You have to look out for other people,” he says of life in the House.
On two occasions last year Abner put that into action in a dramatic way—performing chest compressions on men who collapsed at the house. Abner says, “I’m not sure I would have run towards a situation like that in the past, but you never know when you might be able to save a life.”
He feels fortunate to have this time at St. Herman’s. He is working on completing his General Educational Degree and wants to complete it for himself and St. Herman’s – to show his gratitude for this opportunity.