Homeless man on book cover leads to reuniting family
Bestselling author, Kathi Macias finished her manuscript for Unexpected Christmas Hero (New Hope Publishers) and handed it over to her editor. Meanwhile, photographer and designer Michael Lê was assigned the task of finding a homeless man who fit the physical representation of Macias' character. Lê and wife Christine were in Ashville, N.C., last Christmas when they stopped their car and asked a homeless man by the name of Willard Parker if he would be willing to pose for some pictures.
Parker agreed. He also began to reveal glimpses into his own sad story. He lost his house. He lost touch with his daughters and grandchildren. He said his life had not turned out the way he'd hoped. Now destitute, he was walking the streets and looking for the next place to find a hot meal and a bed. He told Lê, how he longed to see his daughters but had no idea where they were or how that could happen.
When Macias heard the story, she prayed the cover would help reunite father and family. Unexpected Christmas Hero released in mid-October and fell into the hands of a woman who knew Willard's 26-year-old daughter, Amber. The mother of his 2 and 5-year-old grandchildren, Amber went online and found the cover of the book. It was indeed her dad. She wept. But where was he? How could she find him? Where does one find a homeless person who keeps moving from town to town?
Driving near Ashville North Carolina Willard's estranged wife unexpectedly spotted him walking down the sidewalk and picked him up. Willard has acute leukemia and not in good health but kept talking about getting the family back together. He says, "When I had my picture taken for the book cover, all I wanted was for it to help me get back with my family. It worked, and I'm really grateful."
Amber is equally as excited. "I'm so happy. I can't wait to be together again," she says. "You never know how long you have on this earth and all he [my dad] wants is his family together." In spite of the reunion by phone with daughters Amber and Rebecca (Willard is now in Toledo, Ohio), both are eager to see their dad and bring this unexpected Christmas miracle to fruition.
To help reunite a family this Christmas go to: gogetfunding.com/project/reunite-a-family