Homeless man finds hope after rescue

William Thompson

A man who had given up on life was found on a ranch near San Jon in May. Eugene Davidson, of California, was found after 21 days of sleeping outdoors with little or no food. Rancher Paul Gibson and helper Trey Rusk found the man clinging to life.

Gibson and Rusk were alerted to Davidson’s presence by the smell of campfire smoke. “Trey Rusk and I found the man around sunrise,” said Gibson. “The man said he was starving to death. He had gathered up some old timber and made a little hut for himself.”

Gibson said a Quay County Deputy Sheriff, several hours later, talked the man into forsaking his desire to die.
“The deputy didn’t use any force at all. He calmly talked the man into coming out,” said Gibson.
Mary Ann Garrett, board president of La Casa de La Hope, said Davidson was eventually taken by a New Mexico State Police officer to La Casa de La Hope, given food and a motel room for the night and a bus ticket back to his family in California. “When he was found he had no tent and he was literally starving to death,” said Garrett. “Bea Laredo (director of La Casa de La Hope) was able to give him some food and get him a room. We were able to contact his sister in California and get him a bus ticket home.”

Laredo said Davidson looked confused when she first saw him. “His clothes were very dirty and he looked really confused,” said Laredo, “but he was a quiet and gentle sort of man.”

Laredo said she was able to offer inspiration to Davidson.
“He told us that he was prepared to die out on the land because he thought nobody cared for him,” said Laredo. “I told him that God had a purpose for his life and that’s why he was found out there. When I put him on the bus back home I gave him a Bible to read and told him to read it on the trip home.”

Laredo received good news early last week. Davidson called from California and said his life was on an upswing.
“He called to thank us and told us he had turned his life around. He said he now has a steady job as a truck driver,” said Laredo. “He said he was going to send us a donation when he received his next paycheck. When he called he began by saying, ‘This is the desert rat that was found.’”
Laredo said the key to helping desperate individuals is to first meet physical needs like hunger. “After we meet their physical needs we try to meet their spiritual needs. Spiritual needs are what are most important,” said Laredo. “A place like La Casa de La Hope shows that there is always hope. A transient can see that people in the community obviously care. That’s why I always say that La Casa de La Hope is a ministry not just a food bank.”