Rock came to Project Understanding for assistance when our homeless services center was in operation. A gentle and amiable man in his mid 50’s, he was easy to get to know. Rock became a constant figure and helper around the agency and was liked by all.
Prior to living in the riverbed, Rock lived in the Midwest surrounded by community, friends and family. He struggled with addiction and ultimately, lost his job. Given the harsh downturn in the economy, he was unable to procure work. He now questioned his function in his community and with his family. Feeling desperate and helpless, he bought a bus ticket to California and headed west. He did not inform his family of his departure and never looked back.
Rock ended up here in Ventura living in the riverbed and resided there for 26 months before Project orchestrated his reunion with his family. While living in the riverbed, Rock got involved in a verbal altercation that turned violent and Rock was stabbed 17 times. During his time in the hospital, Project Understanding stayed with him and prayed with him in what was a critical and uncertain time. The doctors were not immediately sure he would survive the ordeal.
Project Understanding began to introduce the idea of returning to family. Simultaneously, a private investigator phoned and asked if we knew of or had seen a Rock Gunter . He indicated that Rock’s daughter had hired him to find her father. The timing could not have been more perfect for us to introduce the idea of going home.
Soon after Rock was back on his feet, we arranged a phone call between him and his daughter. We friended his daughter on facebook and brought up her page for viewing during their conversation. Since Rock’s absence, his mother had passed away, his daughter had gotten married and had her first child. Rock saw the pictures and immediately the tears began to fall.
Over the next several months, Rock talked to our H2H manager about what it would look like to go home. It was an uncomfortable idea given how he had left things with his family. Approximately 8 months after his release from the hospital, we drove Rock to the airport to board a plane that would reunite him with his family.
Rock is now back with his family, living with his daughter and doing what grandfather’s do best. He is teaching the kids to fish, cook and passing along the traditions of family and generations. He is loved, supported and once again, thriving in his community.