At 86 years old, she rarely misses her day of manning the phones at the MUST Ministries headquarters. She’s the only volunteer to have her own business cards. And she has a special affinity for homeless veterans.
Inez Lynch spent her Tuesday laughing, eating and giving gifts during a Christmas party she played host to for the residents of a MUST program that provides permanent housing for 73 formerly homeless and disabled veterans.
It all started four years ago when she moved from Louisville, Ky., to Kennesaw with her family and began volunteering at the local faith-based nonprofit.
“I would see these people come in with large garbage bags with all their possessions and I would just start talking to them because I’m a talker,” Lynch said.
With a daughter who is a veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard and an ancestry tracing back to the Revolutionary War, Lynch felt compelled to help homeless service members who came through the door at MUST seeking help and looking to get back on their feet.
Lynch became accustomed to answering the phone to be met with tears at the other end.
“After seeing them come in and everything, I decided I want to do something for them because I love veterans,” Lynch said.
She now keeps a list of their birthdays, throws parties throughout the year, gives gifts and stays in touch throughout the year.
Pamela Cobbs, a former U.S. Army specialist, landed in MUST housing after seeking help from the homelessness program by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
“I was down on my luck so far I was living in the streets,” Cobbs said.
Since coming to MUST and getting to know Lynch, Cobbs said she has renewed her self-esteem and her spirituality.
It’s people like Lynch, Cobbs said, that let her know, particularly during the holidays, she isn’t alone.
“There are some people in the world that care, that truly care,” Cobbs said.
Lynch points to her Christian faith as her driving factor.
Most homeless people, Lynch said, are without a roof over their heads because of something that happened in their lives — not by choice. And that “something” is typically something traumatic, like a spouse leaving them, an unexpected health problem or the loss of a job or loved one.
“Every homeless person I’ve met, I’m not scared of them,” Lynch said. “They wouldn’t take a dime from me or anyone else.”
Ike Reighard, CEO of the charity, says her motherly title is fitting.
“That’s what makes MUST go,” Reighard said.