Back in 2009, while living in a Skid Row shelter, Lisa met Torrey just days after he was released from prison. After leaving the shelter, the couple “moved in” together on Skid Row… and for the next 7 years, this tent was their home.
Despite many setbacks — addictions, more incarcerations, poor health, sheer poverty and couple's issues, to name a few — Torrey’s life changed for the better while living in that tent with Lisa.
Torrey violated parole recently and found himself back in jail. On the second day of his sentence, he collapsed — his heart lost 85% capacity. At that moment in time, Torrey was glad he was in jail and not fending for himself on the streets. “Thank God I got locked up. Prison saved my life,” he confided. Thankfully Torrey was restored to full health while he served his time.
In June of 2016, Torrey was free and back with Lisa, who had waited for him. Lisa’s dedication inspired Torrey to focus on turning his life around. And within mere months, with the help of Torrey's parole officer, sponsor and job trainers, and of course the steadfast help of a strong woman, he and Lisa were on the road... to a better life.
They headed out of Skid Row to Arkansas, for Torrey to start his full-time job as an 18-wheel truck driver.
We are delighted that Torrey and Lisa have moved on. As we handed them water and wipes for the last time, we joked that we are mutually thrilled to NEVER see each other again!
Why this matters
Measurable results on Skid Row are hard to come by. It’s not easy tracking those who actually 'make it out.' We feel so lucky to have witnessed Torrey and Lisa’s success after seven years on The Row.
As we drive through the streets of Skid Row, DBDG volunteers do more than hand out essentials; we take the time to listen. In doing so, we slowly build up relationships. We have our ‘regular’ DBDG patrons — we listen to their stories, we follow their ups and downs, and above all, we do not judge. We live by the motto: No Agenda, Just Pure Giving. We always remain hopeful that our friends on Skid Row can find a way to move on. In the mean time, we continue our giving and hope that our regular presence on the streets, handing out water, wipes and protein, brings a little relief and a little dignity.