Meet Journey Home Circle Members Brad and Patrick — June 20, 2016
This month we sat down with Journey Home Circle members, and dynamic husband duo Patrick Cody Walker and Bradley Gorder to ask them why they care about Clare Housing.
The breadth of their support is staggering, if supporting Clare Housing was a sport, they would be triathletes!
Brad and Patrick were first introduced to Clare Housing when they attended our Annual Fundraising Breakfast last year. At first they were planning to come, listen to the presentation, and make a “one and done” donation.
They weren’t expecting to be so moved by the stories they heard that day that they would pledge to support Clare Housing for 5 years as Journey Home Circle members!
For Patrick the morning was especially moving. The stories he heard were ones he could personally relate to. “I was homeless for a while in St. Cloud, living in my car,” he disclosed during our interview. “That was until my car broke down. Then I was on the streets and ended up in an emergency shelter. I couldn’t imagine living that way and also living with HIV/AIDS.”
“When you’re homeless like that, health is not what you’re worrying about. I know I wasn’t. You’re worrying about how you can find a job, and where you’re going to stay.” Although Patrick is many miles away from that time – personally and professionally, it’s still vivid in his mind.
Brad was also inspired by events in his past to support Clare Housing. As a student at St. Cloud State, he originally studied pre-med, but life led him down a different path, and now he’s a financial analyst.
“I don’t get to help individual people at my job. Doing something that really helps people directly who have so many challenges feels good. I appreciate how Clare Housing helps people get out of homelessness to a place where they can care about their health again.
“Working in analytics as I do, it also seemed like a good investment. The idea that our 1,000 dollar yearly commitment for 5 years can help the organization navigate with some assurance of the future really spoke to me.”
In addition to being Journey Home Circle members, Brad and Patrick also do a whole other gamut of amazing volunteer activities for us. Together they cook dinner at Agape Dos, one of our care homes, each month.
“Well, Brad cooks,” Patrick smiled sheepishly. “I’m just there to look pretty.”
“We’re so happy that as a married couple we have a shared passion for something that we both really enjoy,” Brad shared. “Being able to do things together is great. Time is precious so it’s more time that we can spend together doing something we both care about.
“That being said,” Brad continued. “We both get to do something different too.”
And different things they do! A stylist, Patrick cuts hair at Clare Apartments each month. “I know that being a stylist is my passion, and it’s my art too. I love to make people feel happy and their 100% best. Seeing a resident smile after they get a cut makes me smile too. Now that people are getting to know me here, it’s starting to feel like a second family.”
Brad also volunteers on the finance committee, lending his insight as an analyst to important decisions about Clare Housing’s finances. He hopes to someday apply to the Board of Directors.
When asked about their hopes for Clare Housing’s future, Patrick responded that, “I hope that Clare Housing is able to create more housing and end homelessness for people living with HIV/AIDS.”
Brad also agreed with that aspiration saying that, “Short of a cure, I hope that in the future there’s no waiting list for someone who finds themselves needing Clare Housing’s help. I also hope that more couples can do what we do. Supporting Clare Housing together has been a relationship strengthener. I like not having to choose between volunteering and spending time together.”
Thanks so much to Brad and Patrick for all the incredible support they give to our residents here at Clare Housing! We really appreciate it! If you’d like to learn more about the Journey Home Circle, please contact Jim Seas, our Director of Community Engagement, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 612.236.9517.