Brian first met Michelle in March when they were connected by a local social service agency. Michelle was new to Walla Walla, having moved to the Valley after facing homelessness, addiction and domestic violence while living in Texas. The move was a fresh start that she hoped would help her stay clean and regain custody of her son, who stayed behind while she worked on staying sober.

“Walla Walla was [Michelle’s] last resort,” Brian shared.

Michelle was an amputee who needed regular medical care. More than access to care, she needed support from someone who would consistently show up for her.

As a Population Health Community Health Worker, Brian jumped in and worked hand-in-hand with Michelle to help her get on the right track. They found her temporary housing by sitting together to call local shelters until they found one that had an open spot.

Michelle grew to trust Brian and he quickly became the person she would call when things got tough. “When she gets frustrated, she calls me and we talk things through. When a person has someone to call who cares, they are less likely to turn to drugs to cope.” 

Michelle told Brian that she wanted to go back to Texas for her son’s 6th birthday but couldn’t afford the bus ticket home. Brian drew on the Good Samaritan Fund to help Michelle see her son. Fully funded by donations through the Foundation, the program pays for food, medicine, transportation and other critical support insurance won’t cover. It gave Michelle a special moment with her son that otherwise wouldn’t have been possible.

When Michelle hits obstacles, she focuses on her son. Brian explained, “Everything she did was for her child.”

Brian picked up the keys to Michelle’s own apartment while she was in Texas, and made sure the kitchen was stocked with food and she had a bed to sleep on when she moved in. 

 

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