ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – A formerly homeless man is getting back on his feet, thanks to help from MERS Goodwill and The Precinct co-owners Jim Edmonds and Mark Winfield.
Jack Windle, 54, is a native St. Louisan. He started losing his hearing after a fight he had back when he was younger, and his hearing slowly deteriorated starting in his early 30s.
Windle didn’t let his disability stop him from finding and keeping work. He had steady employment working in the warehouse field, but was quickly out of a job when the recession hit. In addition to being hard-of-hearing, Windle has learning disabilities where he struggles with reading comprehension, understanding and spelling, which makes filling out job applications a difficult task.
Soon, Windle was living in a shelter because he was homeless. The shelter he stayed in required everyone to be in by 6 p.m. or they would not be allowed to return—a rule that made it difficult for him to find the work he needed be eligible to get into subsidized housing. Windle’s son asked him to live with him and his family until he could find a job, but Windle declined, stating he didn’t want to be a burden to his son and his family out of pride.
In August 2013, Windle was referred to MERS Goodwill’s Job Placement program, where he met case manager Tom Lemon. Lemon immediately saw potential in Windle, and worked with him to identify work he was comfortable with, helped him learn how to fill out resumes and conduct job interviews with potential employers. In February 2014, Lemon approached Mark Winfield, co-owner with Jim Edmonds of The Precinct, and told him about Windle’s story.
Winfield immediately wanted to help. Windle was hired on the spot after his interview, working up to 20 hours a week as a busser/back-of-house employee helping set up banquets and cleaning before opening and closing.
When Lemon visited Mark in July, he found out that Winfield and Edmonds planned to take Windle shopping and buy him brand new furniture, a TV and free cable for a year for his new place—he was finally eligible for subsidized housing.
This past Thursday, he received the keys to his new apartment.
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