August 12, 2012 ~ An update to our homeless veteran, Eugene Pottinger. So this afternoon I stopped to ask a few additional questions. Primarily to find out if he had identification on him so that we can move forward with getting him home to San Diego, CA. I found out that he has his social security card and that's all. This could be a little of a challenge as most places want a picture id and I am not sure that we can get him an ID card without a birth certificate. I told him that I am working to get him back home and how does he prefer to go... by plane or bus. He didn't want to go by plane and said a bus would be great. It would be a 2 day travel with 3 transfers. I then asked him if he had someone who could pick him up and he said his wife would pick him up. I asked him how he specifically got to Columbia, MO (or rather Midway) and he said he was working in North Carolina and got laid off and caught a ride here. I told him I would check into everything tomorrow morning and meet him to give him the information I find out.
I decided that he needed to have a good night's rest before traveling as he probably hasn't had a good night's rest in awhile. I purchased a room at Midway's Budget Inn and for $35.67 and now he has a room for the night. The gentleman and woman that were running the front desk were super nice and said that he sits in the restaurant every night and doesn't bother anyone but is very friendly. I went back and told Eugene that I paid for a room for the night and I put it under his first name since I didn't know his last name. He then told me his last name was Pottinger. He was very happy and shook my hand and was headed to the hotel just now.
Tomorrow hopefully (after talking to the supervisor at Greyhound here in Columbia) we can successfully get him on the road.... one step closer to home!
Thank you all for the private messages willing to help out with getting Eugene home. There have been so many from people I don't even know to my close friends asking what we can do. You all have willing hearts and helping hands that make our community so unique. I truly can't express how happy my heart is knowing we are a step closer to helping this man get back home to be reunited with his family. Keep your fingers crossed the supervisor figures out a way to get him on the bus with just a social security card!