A Kennewick Woman's Story of Hope
It's a story of hope and perseverence. Not so long ago, Kennewick's Tabitha Redd was homeless. Today she has a brand new outlook.
From homelessness to certified medical assistant at Richland's Physician's Immediate Care, what makes Redd stand out is her complete unwillingness to give up.
"I don't ever want to go through that again. I've never felt more worthless in my entire life, but it made me angry, and I think that created the need to succeed," said Redd.
Four years ago, she suffered an injury to her back and legs, and was unable to work. Without family support, in just a few months she was unable to make her rent. She never imagined circumstances would be so dire.
"It's a gradual process of loss. First say you lose your health, then you lose your job, and then you lose your house... and all of a sudden you're in a oh my God situation," said Redd.
She found a bed at the Tri-City Union Gospel Mission. She shared a room for nine months with three others, a revolving door of women, and sometimes children.
"It's a really intense painful process once you get down to a position where you actually have to go into the shelter. I lost hope gradually over time and that's an uncomfortable place to be. The longer you are in that, the more it wears you down," said Redd.
The Mission's Director of Women and Childrens's services Chariss Warner says Tabitha, like others, has a lot more strength than she realized. All she needed was some support and a place to hang her hat.
"I would say that she's a fighter, but I don't think she would say that about herself. She is a kind soul, and fighter implies something else. But she is," said Warner.
Staying at the shelter allowed Red to go back to school, and complete her medical assistant certificate. She was hired on at the Physician's Immediate Care a short time later.
"I think a lot of us live really close to the edge as far as not having a home - it 's a delicate balance. But I was lucky, and got out of the shelter as soon as I got my job," said Redd.
One of her supervisors at the clinic, Lori Gutierrez said she had no idea Redd was homeless.
"People are private about that kind of information, but it was a surprise when I found out. But she has always been a hard worker, and a pleasant person to work with.. and with 12 hour shifts at the clinic, that's a bonus!" said Gutierrez.
Redd reflects on her time at the Mission and says the experience has made her more empathetic in general.
Warner nods and agrees. "She tries to pay it back by volunteering at the Mission, she will help us with transportation. I have seen her give out of her own paycheck to help other girls who live at the shelter. And she's even rescued a homeless kitten."
As she leaves for her shift at the clinic, Redd said she has a bit of advice for people who are on the same path she once journeyed. "Don't give up. Don't let anyone let you feel like you're worthless. Take it one day at a time, sometimes one hour at a time. Be patient, you will eventually get ther."