Wayne Hudgens grew up in the Presbyterian church in Seguin in a wealthy family. He got married, had three wonderful children and had a great job as the general manager of a car dealership. He was living with his beautiful family on South Padre Island, on the water – living what he referred to as the “big life”. Then it all fell apart.
He and his wife separated and got a divorce. When he lost contact with his children, his life spiraled downward into hopelessness and addiction. Eventually he found himself experiencing something he’d never imagined for himself: homelessness.
That’s when he came to The Salvation Army in Austin. He discovered the workers dorm at the Downtown Shelter where he could live, eat in the dining hall, and come and go as long as he was working. The Salvation Army would save half his salary for him so that when he got out, he’d have money for a deposit and rent.
The Salvation Army was part of his path back, which also included Angel House in downtown Austin where he would get meals when he was hungry. Wayne also eventually ended up in a year-long recovery program where he found the help he needed to overcome his addictions.
Wayne has experienced what it means to have a lifeline, a place to get out of the cold, and he wants to help provide that life saver to others who need it now. That’s why he’s now giving back. He volunteers at Angel House regularly, and this Christmas he’s helping expand The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle campaign in Round Rock.
Wayne is working with his pastor, Rev. Nancy Reeves, of Grace Presbyterian Church in Round Rock to help ensure that the Red Kettle at Walmart at I35 and Louis Henna is staffed with volunteers from Thanksgiving through Christmas this year, inviting shoppers to donate to help people in our community who need that help this year – much as Wayne did 15 years ago.
We are inviting you to ring a bell, give back! You can ring for a couple of hours, or for churches, organizations and clubs we invite you to adopt a day of bell ringing for the Walmart Kettle in Round Rock and schedule your members to ring in two-hour shifts for that day. To adopt a day, contact Richard Rogers at firstname.lastname@example.org or (512) 584-1235 and sign your group up today.
If you can’t ring a bell, please remember to donate when you see a Salvation Army Red Kettle this holiday season, or donate today.