McPherson community rallies to help stranger get a home
WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - In August, Factfinder 12 visited with Gary Quint. He was losing his home after the owner of the mobile home park where he lived failed to renew his license, and the City of McPherson ordered everyone living in the small community to get out. Many didn’t know what they were going to do, but a lot of people saw the story when it aired on Eyewitness News and banned together to help the story have a happy ending.
After one last look around the mobile home he’d owned for 20 years, Gary Quint stepped outside on a warm October day and locked the door. It’s a step he said he never thought he’d be taking.
“This is the last time I’m coming out of this place,” Quint said. “There’s (all) she wrote.”
But what started as a tragic story, soon turned into a story of hope.
“A few more days, probably in the streets, worried about getting killed for a little bit of money I got,” Quint said. “You guys just came out of the wild blue the other day when I called you and said ‘I need help.’ You people were right here. I appreciate that.”
When he says, “You guys,” he’s not just walking about KWCH. He’s talking about a lot of people...and most of those people are from the city that was forcing him out of his home. People who saw his story and decided they had to do something. People like Kim Torske.
“I cried. It broke my heart,” Torske told Factfinder 12. “Just when I saw him on the news talking to you guys I was just really sad.”
Torske is the manager at Mustang Community, a mobile home park, not far from where Quint was living. She called her bosses at Platte River Communities and told them about Gary Quint, and she told them about an idea she had to help him.
“They were just as disheartened as I was, so we put our heads together,” she explained.
The plan formed by Torske and her bosses wouldn’t just help Gary Quint, but also another family being displaced from the same mobile home park. They decided to donate two mobile homes at the Mustang Community at no cost to the people who’d be moving into them. There was a problem though. Both homes needed a lot of work...but Kim Torske wasn’t the only person who had seen Gary’s story and wanted to help.
“I just start reaching out to people,” Torske said. “And there was a big outcry of people wanting to help.”
Two different church groups, business owners, dozens of complete strangers, even the attorney working for the City of McPherson showed up to help clean, repair and make each of the mobile houses, mobile homes. Turns out Gary Quint had a lot of friends he didn’t even know, but it wasn’t just Gary getting the help. Torske went to everyone living in Gary’s mobile home park and, with help from the McPherson Housing Coalition many of the families were receiving the help they needed.
“These families are finding a better place to live. I think a lot of them are going to end up in a lot better situations,” Chris Goodson with the coalition said.
As for Gary, he was immediately happy with the new place, according to Torske.
“I picked him up I brought him over here and he liked it, he was, he was happy,” she said. “He was really excited he started like looking at things and, I mean, it was just like so amazing. I mean he was...yeah, so happy.”
It took weeks of phone calls, organizing, cleaning and moving, but now Gary...who just weeks earlier was worried about living on the streets, had other things on his mind.
“Maybe not this year anymore but next spring, getting a lawn chair and sitting out there and get a tan,” he joked.
All thanks to a McPherson community that takes care of their own and a new friend named Kim who made it all possible.
“That’s just what you’re supposed to do,” Kim Torske said. “You’re supposed to help people.”
“(She’s a) wonderful lady,” Gary added. “If it wasn’t for her help, and your help. And everybody else, I’d be S.O.L.”
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