By Jason Whaley
Austin Area Command Communications Manager
I pulled up to The Rathgeber Center early one afternoon not knowing what to expect. The school bus was running late, and I had no idea how these boys would react to a stranger filming their every move. It was a big day, whether they realized it or not.
Pedro, Miguel, and their mother had been looking for a safe place to stay for a while. The father was absent. Their savings were gone. They were running out of options. Through a friend, the family learned about The Salvation Army and its emergency shelters in Austin.
After completing the intake process, the big day had finally arrived. The boys would get their own room, and mom would get peace of mind. I watched them bound out of the bus and run toward the building. Mom was waiting with a broad smile, ready to lead the way.
I positioned myself in the living room with the lens focused on the door. The boys came inside, dropped their backpacks, and began buzzing around, not knowing where to go first.
Between the squeaks of excitement and bursts of laughter, I began to realize just how special this moment was. I was grateful to witness firsthand the impact The Salvation Army has on our community.
For the families who have received the support needed to get back on their feet, and the ones who might come through those doors, The Salvation Army is always here when people need us the most.