TOPEKA, KAN. (KSNT)- Everyday people in need of shelter, food, and the hopes of a new beginning walk into the Topeka Rescue Mission.
For those checking-in on the men’s side of the mission, is a man named Tom Bombardier. He’s the front desk trainer, a job he said requires him to wear a lot of hats, “Everything from a phone operator, to a security guard, to administration type of stuff,” Bombardier said.
While that work may keep him busy all day long, Bombardier will tell you its all worth it, because he gets to help the homeless, “Do for others what they did for me,” he said. “And give back to the community, instead of take away from it.”
That’s right, Tom not only helps the homeless get settled in at the shelter, he can relate to them because not long ago, he too was homeless,”I lived here, ate here, worked here and worshiped here,” Bombardier said. In the same cafeteria Bombardier used to eat every meal in, he tells KSNT News’ Evening Anchor Brooke Lennington, how he went from being an average Joe, to his life spiraling out of control, “I was a business man and had a family,”he said. “Injured my back, got addicted to pain pills. I lost everything.”
Like so many people do when hitting rock bottom, Bombadier started making bad choices, and hanging out with the wrong people, “Ended up going to prison,” Bombardier said. He went to prison for two years, but it was during that time he had his ‘aha’ moment, “Everything I’d done all my life to fix me hadn’t worked,” he said. “So I opened a bible again and that was all she wrote.”
It was shortly after that, Bombardier said miracles started happening, “Everything just started coming together,” he said.
Bombardier paroled to the Topeka Rescue Mission after getting out of prison and joined a one year program, that’s designed to help people like him get their life in order, “And it was just exactly what I needed.” With his strong faith and determination, Bombardier stuck with the program, and it worked. He now has a full time job at the mission, and a new beginning, “I moved out a few months ago, and now own my own place.”
Bombardier now spends his days helping those who used to be like him, but right now he’s got a special person he’s looking out for. Hoping he can inspire them to get on the right path, just like he did, “My son actually is here, he was on the street here as well, he started using drugs,” Bombardier said. “He’s about 9 months clean now, he’s in the one year program here at the mission, working for the mission as well.”