BLUEFIELD, WV (WVNS)– In November 2021, Josh Osborne moved back home to Bluefield, enjoying being back in his hometown and his new job at the Bluefield Union Mission.
But on February 11th, his life changed forever.
As he stood on the street watching the home he shared with his grandparents burn to the ground, he realized he and his grandparents suddenly had no food, no clothes, and no home.
“Thirty-three years of my life went up into flames,” Osborne told 59News. “All I can tell you is you stood there in devastation. Because your pictures, everything that meant something to you, is now gone. So, you know, you’re just left to start completely over.”
But it was the very next day when Osborne says he realized the Bluefield Union Mission wasn’t just the place where he worked. It was a safe haven for people in need, and people struggling through the hardest points in their lives.
Over the next few days, the Mission provided Osborne and his grandparents with hot meals, groceries, and entirely new wardrobes, all free of charge.
The Bluefield Union Mission was formed 90 years ago in the depths of the great depression to help members of the community who fell on hard times.
Since then, Director Craig Hammond said they’ve worked to uphold that commitment to any member of the community who needs help.
“We do everything that anybody would have an emergency need for,” said Hammond. “Whether it be shelter or transportation, maybe help with utility bills, food, clothing, hygiene. Whatever that might be.”
Osborne has been staying with a friend since the fire and says he plans to be back in his own home by the end of June 2022.
But he says he’ll never forget the way the Bluefield Union Mission helped him and his family at their lowest point, and that needing the Mission’s help himself, helped him better understand the community members he helps to serve every day.
“We take things for granted every day and we think ‘oh this will never happen to us,'” said Osborne. “But yet we’re helping the people it’s happened to. So for me to be on the other side and I have lost everything and had the help, it’s good to know where they’re coming from.”