Monday, March 2, 2015

The Story of Cass: When Homeless isn't Helpless

 by Nomad

Homeless Anthony Castelow defied the odds and turned his life around.  Once he had changed his life, he committed himself to helping others get the help they needed. 

Last Sunday a man you've probably never heard of died of a heart attack in his own home in Redford Michigan. I stresss the words "in his own home." As Detroit Free Press' Mitch Albom explains, a place called home, a place in which to live and to die was not something 55-year-old Anthony Castelow took for granted.
 On his final day, writes Albom, Castelow preached at the church, the subject of that last sermon was about "new beginnings."

By any measure, "Cass" lived an eventful life. As a former high school sports star Castelow certainly had an opportunity to succeed. He did a year in college and then served in the military. He returned to Detroit and then joined the reserves. That's when his life took a wrong turn. He started selling drugs and with that lifestyle came the risks. The arrests, the prison time. By that time, Cass himself was an addict. 

Eventually that habit destroyed his life and left him on the streets. According to the article, it was a hard road to walk. That part of his life was a time of violence and loss. 
As Albom writes:
By a cynic's assessment, he was a lost cause.
There had been numerous close calls in that time.
Cass had been stabbed in a bar and left to die. He didn't. He'd been clubbed on the head and left to die. He didn't. He'd lost a leg, lost his teeth, had so many rushes to the hospital, the car almost drove itself — but he always came out.
And that could have been the end of the tragic- but all too common- story of Anthony Castelow. Yet that's not how it turned out. The story of the second part of Cass' life was very different.
..Here was a man who proved you never give up on anyone.
In the end, all it took was one person to have faith in him, against the history of personal failure. 
When the Rev. Henry Covington, who ran the I Am My Brother's Keeper Ministries/Pilgrim Church on Brainard Street, invited Cass to live with him in his tiny home, he knew he was casting a net. He knew Cass had been stealing from the food trucks to support his drug habit. But he let the man sleep on his main floor while Henry and his wife and children all slept upstairs. He made certain the man was fed and cared for.
Unexpectedly, after being exposed to this kindness, Cass turned his life around.
The crack habit was broken. The drinking and stealing stopped. He devoted himself to God, got involved with Covington's congregation and became, in time, a deacon and an elder.
And that was just beginning.
I invite you to read the full article at the link below.

Mitch Albom: Cass proved homeless is not the same as hopeless