In his modest apartment in north South Bend, Wayne Hubbard sits, smiles with his eyes, and settles into his couch with his two adoring dogs. “My wife and I used to raise Weimaraners. We had ten acres; it was a perfect setup to pull my truck through and park.” Wayne made good money driving steel between South Bend and Michigan for the automotive industry and taking construction jobs in the summer when his driving schedule lessened. Even when his hours hauling steel diminished, Wayne was able to find work. “I loved my job. I felt like a big kid getting to play with big kid toys when I went to work.” A lot has changed for Wayne in the past five years.
Wayne lost his wife of 20 years, Dianne, in January 2007. Dianne had contracted Hepatitis C through a blood transfusion needed for a prior surgery. The medical bills that resulted from her lengthy illness forced Wayne to sell all of his belongings and the home that they had shared. “I took the money I had and moved into a mobile trailer. A neighbor of mine let me park on his land and run a power cord from his house. I was able to have heat and electricity in the trailer, but not much else.” Wayne lived in the RV for fourteen months. It was during this time that, desperate for help, he turned to the St. Vincent de Paul Society. “I don’t like to take more than I need. I know there are a lot more people with families that need stuff more than I do. But knowing that people cared about me … you saved my life and I will be eternally grateful to you all.”
Wayne worked to pay his bills and get back on his feet after his wife died. But within two years, Wayne was facing serious medical issues of his own. After many bouts with excruciating back pain, a misdiagnosis and a return visit to the ER, Wayne was finally told that he had a massive staph infection in four of his vertebrae. The rush to save his life and the follow-up care lasted fifteen days. “I was within eight hours of qualifying for health insurance with my new job.” Unable to work and uninsured, the St. Vincent de Paul Society referred Wayne to an agency to work on filing for disability. That battle lasted two years.
Today, Wayne is 56 years old, on disability and living with his two dogs in the same apartment complex as his loving sister, Carol. He has a wonderful network of friends and family that includes St. Vincent de Paul. He speaks with genuine gratitude when he says, “the staff at St. Vincent de Paul has really looked after me. I know that I am one of their favorites.”
" “I don’t like to take more than I need. I know there are a lot more people with families that need stuff more than I do.” "
" “the staff at St. Vincent de Paul has really looked after me. I know that I am one of their favorites.” "