NEWTON, Kan. (KSNW) – On Thursday morning, Bill Cartmell serenaded a group of people staying at Newton’s New Hope Shelter with his guitar and a Kenny Chesney song.
Cartmell has a unique perspective on what his music brings to those staying at the shelter because he was one of them.
After falling on hard times, Cartmell began staying at the shelter in November 2018. He credits the structure and dignity he received from volunteers and staff to help him get back on his feet.
“I didn’t tell a lot of people this is where I was, but when I did, I’d tell them I wasn’t homeless, I’m houseless because here at New Hope, this became a real home for me,” Cartmell said.
Cartmell is now gainfully employed at a job he loves and performing his guitar for others.
The shelter’s overnight supervisor, Sherry Tutt, is also a former resident.
Tutt was living in Arizona several years ago when she lost five family members in five years.
After falling ill and using up her savings, emergency funds and other resources, her daughter invited her to live with the family in Newton. The frustration of being unable to work hurt Tutt, a self-proclaimed workaholic. Tutt suffered from a nervous breakdown.
“For the sake of my family and my grandchildren, I decided I need to be separate and that’s what brought me here,” Tutt said.
After sorting issues out and a rough start, Tutt was able to get a grasp on her life and things started moving along for the better.
Tutt was eventually offered a job at the shelter, keeping residents taken care of during their overnight stays. She finds great joy in taking care of others.
“Love is what can bring people together. To celebrate that and know the person over here is just a person and they need love, too,” Tutt said.
KSN’s Carly Willis is the host.