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    Posted October 29, 2009 by
    Wausau, Wisconsin
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Journey to change

    More from WausauFamily

    A Lighthouse in the storms of life.


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     WausauFamily told me he is an "alcoholic in recovery," and gave me permission to say so in public. He says he is impressed at how this center helps vets overcome the challenges in their lives, particularly alcoholism. WausauFamily says that due to his situation, he has a special interest in local projects affected by recovery.
    - nsaidi, CNN iReport producer

    A program in town, The Randlin Homes, is helping to provide shelter, career counseling, and emotional help to homeless Vets and some ex-offenders. This lighthouse of hope first opened their doors in December of 2000. They started with one home and now have three! This program, co-founded by Ralph and Linda Schlitz is making a difference in a lot of lives! We have worked with this program and have seen first hand the people who have changed their lives. We have seen them weather all types of storms to only continue to move forward and with one mission in mind. To help people. The community has responded in helping this program and see good things in their future.


    They offer veterans and ex-offenders HOPE (Help Opportunity Praise Encouragement) to move forward from their present situation to a new life ahead. Many of those who have sought help at Randlin Homes have had a long history of mental illnesses, substance abuse problems, suicide attempts and other life challenges.


    I talked with Dennis Stephens today, about the program and how it’s helped him. This is part of the talk we had. Dennis is an amazing person and was very honest about the program, his life, and keeping things simple.


    This last March they opened a thrift store to help provide a place to learn new skills, and sharpen some of the skills they already had. The photo’s show this store in action, and how a community has responded. Not only do they have this store they also provide services like snow shoveling, lawn care, small engine repair, and a “Hot Diggity Dog” business!


    Being an iReporter allows me an opportunity to meet some amazing people. While visiting their store I talked with Gene Hilber about his feelings and thoughts about the program. He shared with me that it gave him a chance to reconnect with his daughters and a fresh start in life.


    I was personally inspired by these courageous men and hope you will be as well. Life isn’t easy for any of us. We all fall down now and then and sometimes need the compassion of others to get back in the saddle and move forward. This community is fortunate to have Randlins Homes reaching out to the lives many look away from seeing. People like Ralph and Linda Schlitz are examples of the many unsung hero’s that exist in cities big and small across the world. When many have told them that they can’t they prove that they can, and often times just did! Thank you for taking the time to read this iReport and making a difference in the community you live in. Every kind action, to programs that help other’s, matters. With winter just around the corner it’s even more important to remember the lives that are hurdled over heat vents and looking for food in places where no human being should ever have to look in.

    To learn more please visit their website at

    “The Randlin Homes”.


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