Jack and Linda’s Story
Jack and Linda came together late in life coming from very different pasts. Jack is a native of Spokane, and previously lived in the North Central neighborhood where he lived with his wife and kids and working full time at a metal fabrication shop in the Valley. His oldest son, who was twenty at the time, also worked in metal fabrication. One day after work Jack’s nephew, who was heavily involved in drug abuse, was at the house and there was an altercation between his son and nephew. Jack’s nephew drew a knife and stabbed his son in the heart. He died at the scene. Not long after the death of his son Jack lost his wife to pancreatic cancer. “I just quit caring after all that.” Jack ended up leaving Spokane, and moved to Everett to work for his brother doing camera repair. However, Spokane was home for Jack, and so he purchased a camper and moved back. That’s when he met and went to work for Norm, Linda’s husband, in their construction business.
Norm and Linda owned a construction and landscape development business together. However, they were also heavily involved in faith based outreach to their community. Their big endeavor began when the purchased a home, and turned it into a food bank. As the popularity of it grew it expanded into a clothing bank as well. Outgrowing their space they found a property downtown where they were able to host a restaurant as well as apartments. Their biggest outreach population ended up being runaway teens. Housing the teens, they worked with state officials to reunite them with their families. This ministry also grew beyond what Jack and Linda could manage, and Volunteers of America came in and the ministry we know today as Crosswalk was born. Oh, and the building they were in on Madison and Second? Today is known as The City Gate.
Norm ended up getting sick both from a combination of Agent Orange infection and cancer. He would ultimately succumb to his illnesses in 2016, at which time Jack “made a deathbed promise” to Norm in that he would take care of Linda for the rest of her days. Linda also has cancer.
As Norm got sicker they pieced their business off to their kids. Some parts of the business (roofing and painting) are still going, but the rest of failed to thrive.
As our conversation drew to its conclusion it wasn’t clear as to why Jack and Linda remain homeless; specifically what happened after Norm’s death that Linda lost everything. Though they have made multiple attempts to find housing they’ve been unable to find anything longstanding. Though they remain hopeful that some day they will.