From Misery to Joy, Rudolph’s Story

By Jim Morris

There’s a reason
that the road is long
It takes some time
to make your courage strong
Needtobreathe- Hard Love 

I have a new friend named Rudolph. His life has played out like a Hollywood script, only all of the pain and loss were real. 

Just as real as his triumph.

“I believed I was in a movie,” Rudolph remarked. “I still wake up each day and don’t believe I’m still alive and where I am today.”

Rudolph’s plunge started with alcoholic parents, which contributed to his alcohol dependence while in the military. He then lost both parents at a young age, quickly followed by two brothers being killed in a bank robbery. Numbing himself with drugs and alcohol, his wife and children exited. His plummet was complete when he spent his nights on the sidewalk of the Union Gospel Mission in Sacramento.

Fortunately, they brought him in and, in a span of eight-months, Rudolph is sober, found faith, reunited with his family and, by all appearances, is a model of humility, strength, optimism and determination.

There aren’t easy answers for the growing homeless crisis. The nearly 5,600 homeless in Sacramento is a 52 percent increase in the last two years.

The Union Gospel Mission in Sacramento is making a difference. The Mission has been a beacon for homeless in our area since 1962; providing food, shelter, faith and hope. Last year, they provided more than 110,000 meals and sheltered nearly 22,000.

I’m running the California International Marathon on December 8 to help this effort. I hope we can find more success stories like Rudolph. Contributions go a long way, as $20 supplies 10 meals for those staying at the Mission. Here’s a link to find out more.

To keep things real, the odds are slim for full recovery for many on the streets. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. I think the chance of a great story similar to Rudolph; something straight out of a highly-dramatic movie, is well worth it.

Visiting with him, seeing him smile and hearing his enthusiasm would, I think warm the hardest of hearts.

“The void I had is gone,” Rudolph said. “I feel whole and complete, with the love of a family here. They showed me genuine love. Now it’s in my heart. It’s who I am and I won’t trade it for anything!”


Jim Morris is Communications Manager for the California Rice Commission. Jim has worked in communications for more than 20 years. When he’s not on the job, he enjoys his family, faith, football, outrageous monster stories and running marathons.