Homeless and stranded, Wichita man gets a helping hand: ‘We’ve changed his life in a way’


A random act of kindness is giving a homeless man a new lease on life.

Wichita City Councilman James Clendenin and Laura Rainwater, the Executive Director of the Sedgwick County Association of Cities, took a tour of the new Advanced Learning Library on Saturday.

That’s when they noticed something across the street.

“We saw this guy that was kind of digging in the back of his truck, parked up in some of the property,” said Clendenin. “We saw this gentleman, on last Saturday, ringing out his shirts from the deluge of rain we had,” added Rainwater.

That’s when Rainwater says she reached out to Officer Nate Schwiethale with the Wichita Police Department’s Homeless Outreach Team.

Ofc. Schwiethale says the 25-year-old man, named William, originally came to the library a week ago to use their computers to apply for jobs, when he came back outside his truck wouldn’t start.

“Super nice guy, wanting to work, you know, just fallen on tough times,” said Ofc. Schwiethale.

Ofc. Schwiethale says the young man explained to him why he had been parked there, living out of his truck.

“His starter had stopped working on his vehicle, so, he was kind of stranded here and has been stuck here for about a week,” said Ofc. Schwiethale. “In order to pay for a new starter, it’s about $105. He was donating plasma in order to make the money and saving up,” he added.

So, he says that’s when the wheels were put in motion to try and get William some help.

“The owner of Auto Tech reached out and said hey, we’d love to help him out, Key Construction, which was already out here doing construction work, offered to help tow his vehicle,” said Ofc. Schwiethale.

He says several community members also pitched in to get William some fuel cards as well. It’s something Ofc. Schwiethale says shows the true power of our community.

“He’s reached out a few times, just to say thank you, because he’s mentioned he’s never really had too many people be this nice to him before,” said Ofc. Schwiethale. “He was overwhelmed and brought to tears that people he didn’t even know were being so kind,” added Rainwater.

With his car fixed, what comes next for William?

Rainwater says they are working to help him find a job, so he can go into the Rapid Re-Housing Program.

That program would pay for two months of rent and utilities, while William works to get back on his feet. 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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