Homeless To Healthy: One Family's Journey
One Greenville family is particularly thankful this holiday season.
This Thanksgiving will be the first time Jeannine Keller and her son, Drew Hobbins, have celebrated the holiday in 12 years.
For the 52-year-old Keller, her story began in Pittsburgh back in 1993. That's when Keller says she was hit by a car while walking to work. "The woman that hit me said call an ambulance. I just hit her at 35 miles an hour," said Keller.
As a result, she had to have five brain surgeries. During this time, she became pregnant with her son, Drew. However, Keller was still in and out of the hospital; and was highly medicated. "I was incapable of taking care of him," she said.
Drew was taken away and sent to live with his grandparents. "I waved to my mom for one last time," he said.
From there, Keller's situation got worse. She lost everything and ended up homeless. Drew knew his mother was on the streets and would think "my mom's homeless, she's out there, she could get run over, she could get robbed. Anything of that sort."
Keller says things began to get better when she met her husband, Jim. They were homeless together. Shortly after, they were married and thanks to a friend, were able to get off the streets. They moved into an apartment with "two backpacks. Two backpacks and 50 bucks," she said.
But what seemed to good to be true, was. Jim fell ill and was fading fast. Keller called Drew and told him to come visit. "Even though he was paralyzed, when I walked in I saw his eyes shift towards me. That just brought tears to my eyes," said Drew. "His skin was yellow as a lemon. His eyes were crystal blue." At 2:50 that day, Jim passed away.
When it seemed like she was once again heading to rock bottom, Drew came home to live with her. "Within the first two weeks that I came here, Mike. I got college and a job within the first two weeks," he said.
Today, they're going to college together at Pitt Community College. "I had never even thought of college. I didn't think I was smart enough," said Keller
This Thanksgiving, they have a home, a 15 pound turkey and most importantly; each other. "I am so grateful that I don't have to worry about where I'm gonna sleep tomorrow. I know," said Keller.
Keller is studying to become a nurse and expects to graduate next December. Drew is studying law enforcement.
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