Ted Williams, the man with the golden voice, had a prayer answered this week when the homeless father of nine was discovered by a Columbus Dispatch reporter begging for change at the entrance to an Ohio freeway. Williams now has a new job and home, thanks to the Cleveland Cavaliers, Quicken Loans, and the publicity the reporter brought to his plight.
“Please don’t disappoint me. Hold your life together,” Williams’ 90-year-old mother urged her son during an emotional reunion on Today with Matt Lauer yesterday. “Just don’t let things fall apart when you fall in with the wrong people.”
A century and a half after Horatio Alger’s “Ragged Dick” inspired America to dream rags to riches stories with the tale of a street boy rising from poverty to middle-class through “good moral behavior, clean living, and determination,” Williams stood in his only pair of clothes against the chill of the Columbus winter not far from the feeble plastic tent that had become his shelter.
The near miraculous story of salvation of has been broadcast worldwide this week, including network interviews and features on news sites from Allentown to Anchorage and just about everywhere in between.
As the nation celebrates the new opportunities for this once proud American veteran with the golden voice whose hard times included drug and alcohol abuse, financial collapse, the betrayal of years of promises to his own family, and the tragedy of homelessness, it’s important to remember the estimated three million more Americans who will find themselves without a home at some point this year, including thousands of veterans who have sacrificed much in their service to our country.
Ted Williams now has a chance to be the answer to his most fervent prayers. Many more of our neighbors continue waiting for a chance of their own.