Homeless man Mick Matthews, who was profiled int The Bee last year, is homeless no more.
Educated, articulate and a Vietnam veteran, the Australian native fast became the spokesman for Turlock's homeless community.
Struck down by a stroke in April 2005 and without insurance, the 30-year truck driver spent his $200,000 savings on medical bill after medical bill. Lying half-paralyzed in a hospital bed, he lost his big rig when he missed a $3,500 truck payment. His apartment went next, then his spot on a friend's couch.
After three years on the street and two seasons in Turlock's only shelter, Matthews and his longtime girlfriend, Donna Lofton, have found a home.
They saved bits and pieces of Lofton's small Supplemental Security Income and bought a 25-foot travel trailer. Tuesday evening, with the help of a local pastor, they pulled it into a Turlock mobile home community.
"I've thought about this day for three years now," Matthews said Tuesday. "I can't tell you how good it feels."
Lofton's SSI and Matthews' Teamsters pension -- expected to kick in this year -- will cover the rent, but neither expects to stay away from the homeless issue.
"We won't forget where we came from," he said.
-- Michael R. Shea