Now she is ready to stand on her own two feet — both literally and figuratively — for the first time in years.
Bridgmon said that she and her boyfriend had been homeless for at least three years prior to seeking help. Her last living arrangement was with a relative. When that didn’t work out, she had nowhere else to turn.
“I just got tired of that life and came here, which is the best thing that ever happened to me,” Bridgmon said.
A friend told Bridgmon about the Haven of Hope. The transitional living facility in Jasper has housed 37 homeless adults and children ranging in age from 58 years to five months since opening in May.
The program has served a total of 62 people either directly or indirectly over the past six months.
Executive director Caroline Ivey said Bridgmon has embraced all aspects of the program, including courses in nutrition and financial planning and Bible studies. Bridgmon has also inspired others with her positive attitude.
“Cheryl has really done her part to take care of herself and to participate in all that we have to offer. I think she is standing on some very solid ground,” Ivey said.
One of the most important decisions that Bridgmon made while staying at the Haven of Hope was to have her left leg amputated.
Her ankle was crushed in a car accident several years ago and never healed, leaving Bridgmon in a wheelchair.
Doctors recommended amputation from the start, but Bridgmon put off the surgery because her living situation was so unstable.
“They (Haven of Hope) gave me the courage because I knew that I wouldn’t be by myself. I would have a good place to come back to until my leg healed,” Bridgmon said.
Bridgmon is eagerly awaiting an upcoming doctor’s appointment where she hopes to be fitted for a prosthetic leg.
She has also secured an apartment and is looking forward to mending her relationship with her son.
Bridgmon admits to being afraid during her first few days at the Haven of Hope, but she has now conquered those fears and is ready to face new challenges.
“I had never been without somebody in my family, but I learned that I can be independent,” Bridgmon said. “It has to be all about me right now, taking care of me and getting my life back together. I have to quit worrying about everybody else and just take care of Cheryl. That’s the biggest thing that I learned here.”