JOPLIN, Mo. — When our local homeless population walks into a Joplin shelter, the first person they see might change their lives forever. That’s why Rebecca Strickland has been nominated as one of this year’s Remarkable Women of the Four States.
Tucked inside the heart of downtown Joplin, she’s the first face you see if you need to come to Souls Harbor..
Rebecca Strickland, Remarkable Woman Nominee, “I guess I’ve always had a heart for helping people. I’ve always wanted to help people.”
Rebecca strickland is the house manager for Souls Harbor.
“If I’m being honest, I didn’t grow up with a lot of homelessness where I lived.”
So consider it a calling, when Director Dianna Gurley reached out to Rebecca around four years ago.
Dianna Gurley, Souls Harbor Executive Director, “She just has a lot of love about her. Her demeanor is so welcoming and so soft.”
“And I was like… opened my mouth to tell her all the things I had planned already. And what came out was, ‘I would love to,'” said Strickland.
Since then, she’s touched many lives — those who know her say she always goes above and beyond for all who come through the shelter’s doors.
“We start out in the office, we do ‘Wake-Up.’ We get people going. Get chores done. Get them going to their appointment. You know, sometimes they need to deal with personal issues. You know, we’ll sit and counsel with people, pray with people.”
Dianna Gurley, Souls Harbor Executive Director, “If they need a ride to work for a few days until they can get soemthing straightened out, she’s there. If they need to go to the doctor, she’s there. If they need help with their children, she’s there,” said Gurley.
She gives her all everyday because she cares deeply for people who enter the shelter.
“There’s a lot of different reasons people are homeless and they don’t fit into a mold. Not one person fits into a mold, and we have to take each case individually like that. And we have to respect who they are as a person,” said Strickland.
Her secret is kindness.
“You could be the only person that says anything kind to a person in a day, and that just is honey for your soul. That is healing. There’s a lot of healing in our words if they are kind.”
It’s a compassion for others that leads her purpose.
“I could be an example for other people. You know, I am a Christian and I do believe in God. And I believe that how we live is a direct reflection of what we claim to be and who we are.”
“We have clients who are coming through the door and they’re perfectly broken. And so, for them to have that person to meet them and greet them and to start caring for them… She makes them all feel like they’re very important,” said Gurley.
“I want to help everybody and I know I can’t. I can’t save anybody. All I can do is plant a seed and help people that way,” said Strickland.