Robert McCormack suddenly found himself with no place to live 10 years ago. His bank account had been wiped out. He had his two little girls in the back seat and their car was running out of gas on Bozeman [Montana’s] 19th Avenue.

“I was kind of desperate,” McCormack recalled. “I remember sitting by the side of the road, without any gas or money, without a cellphone, I didn’t have a dollar to my name, looking at my little girls in the rear-view, not knowing what I was going to do.

“I walked into a church, and it changed everything.”

McCormack didn’t know when he ran out of gas two blocks from the Evangelical Free Church that it is a partner with other local churches in a nonprofit called [Gallatin County] Love In the Name of Christ (Montana).

One [partner] church gave McCormack a tank of gas. Another provided a food voucher. After he persuaded a landlord to rent him a trailer with just a promise to pay — McCormack did still have his job at a local laboratory — Love INC volunteers brought furniture, beds, couches, cooking utensils, towels, sheets and blankets.

“It was a really difficult time in my life,” McCormack said, when his first marriage was ending. “With the help we received, we were able to start thriving.”

A decade later, McCormack, 52, said his life has changed completely.

For three years he worked at Gallatin County Love INC, and recently he was promoted to executive director of the outfit that came to his rescue 10 years ago.

“I slowly went from the guy on the side of the road to a men’s ministry leader,” he said, “and now I’m finding more people on the side of the road.”

“We give people stuff,” McCormack said, “but it can’t stop with stuff.

“When I walked into church and asked for gas, they could have given me a gas card and sent me on my way,” he said, but that wouldn’t have transformed his life. “They walked along side of me … letting me know I’m not alone, and inspiring me to change.”

– Excerpts from Bozeman Daily Chronicle