My name is Norbert Alan Francis Rausch and I’m a Vietnam veteran who through the years has lost my way. I did not plan for my present circumstances to evolve as they did. I am now a chronic alcoholic, unemployed and homeless. At one time I was an experienced journeyman machinist of 16 years. Then one morning my past caught up with my present. I literally lived on the streets for close to 4 years, eating my meals out of trash dumpsters, living under bridges, watching other homeless people being mistreated by those who felt nothing for their fellow human beings. I moved from place to place to elude the authorities. My day consisted of finding food, shelter and occasionally tobacco, including alcohol, to numb my overwhelming feelings of despair, loneliness and absolute worthlessness as an individual. This continued for quite some time until one day I overdosed on alcohol and was literally pronounced dead. Yes the good Lord was watching over me. As He has done throughout my life and allowed me to once again breathe. It was then that I thanked God; the people who I thought I had lost through the years, for their support and vowed to never let my actions interfere with the smiles on the faces of my loved ones!!! Enter Randlin Homes and the organizations founders Ralph Schlitz and Linda Larson Schlitz. Both are the guardians of God’s people. These 2 people have more compassion and hope for individuals as myself than anyone I’ve come across in my life. The Randlin Homes organization is committed to helping those in need of shelter, food, clothing, leadership, direction and an overall feeling of self-worth. In this organization there is now one who’s better than the next. We feel the need to once again be needed as individuals. We once again hear the simple words of “thank you” for a job well done. There’s the feeling of togetherness, working to achieve a hopeless situation into a positive result. The feeling of overall self-worth is something that has eluded many of us for years. At Randlin Homes that has become one of the most important aspects of the starting over process. Ralph and Linda are our best teachers. I cannot stress enough what Randlin Homes has done for me and others like me. I’m once again proud of myself and what ‘I’m achieving along the way. There’s so much to be said about a simple smile where once there was only a found!! This organization has put life back into people just as God put life back into his Son. For all that Randlin Homes has done for this community, that is to lessen the homeless numbers on the street, show compassion for those in need and feed the hungry. Unfortunately, despite their best efforts we still always run short on man’s almighty dollar. We’ve had brat sales, thrift store sales, clothing sales, mowed lawns and shoveled walks but it costs a lot to help others in need. Randlin Homes is the only organization I know of that doesn’t turn its back on anyone-regardless. It is for this reason that I, and the many other residents who reside here nominated Ralph and Linda for the 2010 Red Cross Community Real Heroes award. Perhaps with this acknowledgement will come more community awareness that there are many fallen soldiers like myself that need help and that before Randlin Homes there was none here in our community. Not only will we and the many others who come after thank you but so will the Lord Ralph and Linda have done what God asked of them and would be a great example for others to follow as they have been to us. We hope that Randlin Homes will be acknowledged as the outstanding organization for veterans that it is.