Jul 21Meet Glen: A Rocker with a Heart of Gold
Resident Profile: Glen, Francis Heights
Mention Jon Bon Jovi to Mercy Housing’s Francis Heights resident Glen and prepare to hear some amazing stories about the famed musician. You see, Glen helped to build the musician’s 62-acre New Jersey home. He was also invited to play the drums in Bon Jovi’s home studio. His stories are endless. Not just about Bon Jovi, but about a career spent in construction, which took him across the country to work on projects ranging from new home builds to laying the pipeline at Coors Field, home to MLB’s Colorado Rockies.
Raised in Ohio, Glen’s parents passed away when he was 14 years old. He moved in with his grandparents, referring to them as his “rock.” They taught him the importance of perseverance and strength and he took their lessons about life to heart. He married when he was 16, graduated from high school early, and began a career in construction. At 22, Glen added the word “dad” to his title, when his wife gave birth to a baby girl. Sadly, Glen’s wife passed away and he suddenly found himself a single father. She was his pride and joy. She died tragically when she was 22 years old following a traffic accident.
“My proudest moments were spent raising my daughter,” Glen recently shared. His love for her is obvious as he becomes choked up when talking about her.
It was the wise words of his grandparents that helped guide Glen through those heartbreaking times. His career kept him busy, and he soon found himself relocating to Colorado for a job. Glen grew his construction business and found himself living a comfortable life like many of his famous clients.
And then the cancer diagnosis came. With medical bills piling up, Glen’s retirement wasn’t enough to sustain his lifestyle, forcing him to sell his Castle Rock home. Before he knew it he was homeless. He would spend the next 11 years homeless but even then, Glen found ways to give back to the community through volunteerism at Denver’s Senior Support Services helping to fix maintenance issues on weekends.
Helping Hands and a Life-Changing Day
Just over one year ago, two Denver police officers met Glen. That was the day that changed Glen’s life forever – the two police officers got Glen off the streets and into a nearby hotel. He had been at the hotel for two days when he received a call from Francis Heights that an affordable apartment had become available at the senior living community in Denver.
“The police officers and Mercy Housing did something 11 other caseworkers hadn’t been able to do – help me find stable housing,” Glen said.
His fight against cancer continues, but Glen refuses to sit still – he volunteers five days a week at Francis Heights, waking up each morning and delivering Meals on Wheels to his neighbors, “people depend on those meals,” he adds.
On movie nights you can find Glen providing the snacks and refreshments and for the community’s weekly Brown Bag Ministry, you can find him setting up the tables and dividing food from the food pantry for the entire community.
As Glen proudly explains, “I love working with my hands. I even put on the same work boots I wore during my construction days, and my safety green t-shirt and jeans.”
A Place to Call Home
Making the transition from homelessness to stable, affordable housing at Mercy Housing wasn’t without its challenges. “For the first three months, I would wake up and think ‘oh no! I have to get out of here,” Glen described. And in his new apartment, he repeatedly said, “‘This ain’t real.”
One year later, Glen has settled in. “I love it here,” he said. “I love making good friends here.” Glen has found a home at Mercy Housing. He finally just allowed himself to buy his own television and now enjoys watching shows on The Discovery Channel, and some of the cooking shows on The Food Network.
He uses a walker when taking walks and is now saving for a new power chair, at the recommendation of his oncologist. He realizes that time may not be on his side, but still finds gratitude for the life he lived and continues to live.
“I had a rough life being homeless, but an otherwise good life,” he shared. “Money makes your life easier, but once I became homeless, I realized it wasn’t everything. I found out what life was about – I have been enlightened by how many people do need help and how I can make a difference.”
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