The Ledger Article
By Paul Catala

LAKELAND — Ruth Drawdy is proud to stand next to the man who not only has become her friend but has also helped inspire and give her hope.

Speaking near the cafeteria of Talbot House Ministries, Drawdy praised the care, compassion and attention Bob Alexander has offered her and the 140 men and women who call Talbot House their temporary home.

Located at 814 N. Kentucky Ave., Lakeland’s Talbot House Ministries is a nonprofit, religious-based service and shelter providing people in need with immediate basic services, necessities and opportunities for secure lives.

Founded in 1979, the program also offers housing and employment and training programs, a Good Samaritan Clinic and food services.

“He brings so much encouragement, inspiration and hope to people here. I think of him kind of like a father figure,” Drawdy said of Alexander. “He’s helped me get through some personal issues; I love him to death.”

It’s his ability to help those who have come into hard times or become emotionally derailed get back on track that has kept Alexander involved with Talbot House since he first visited there in 2007, representing Lakeland’s First United Methodist Church to see how parishioner donations were being used there. He soon was hooked on its mission.

“I could see the work that was being done by the staff at Talbot House that led to lives being changed every day. I felt the call to serve those in our community who are less fortunate,” said Alexander. “I wanted to give back and be a part of God’s work in our community. To be part of this ministry is a remarkable experience.”