San Diego Senior Patrol


Ray Miley, like many, was introduced to God when he was a child, but didn't put much effort into finding out more after he became a man. "I was more of a hedonist," Ray says, "and believed that the man with the most 'toys' wins." He had a few narrow escapes on his motorcycle, and managed to get through the Army during the Vietnam War without any major problems. But when he came home, jobs were hard to get. "No one wanted to hire one of those "crazy Vietnam vets," Ray says, so he got on his motorcycle and worked his way across America.

Eventually Ray rediscovered his Christian faith, and life brought him to San Diego. "I had learned to pack light while in the military," Ray says, "and at this point I was carrying my life in two suitcases." On this particular day, Ray was trying to find an inexpensive place to spend the night. As he walked, he noticed two elderly men in matching uniforms just ahead of him. They were both wearing black shoes, light blue pants, and white shirts with a patch on the left shoulder that said, "San Diego Senior Patrol" across the top. In the middle of the patch was the city symbol. And around the bottom of the patch it read, "San Diego Senior Police Dept. CA."

Ray wasn't a senior citizen, not yet, at least, but if anyone knew the local resources, it would be these two. "Excuse me," Ray said, approaching them. "Would you know where I could find lodging for the night?"

Both men greeted Ray kindly, and escorted him down the street another block. They then stopped and pointed down the road. "Do you see that building?" One asked. "About two more blocks? Go there, and you'll find what you're looking for."

"Thanks!" Ray answered. He took one more look at the patches they were each wearing, and turned down the road. San Diego must be a very good city, he thought, to have seniors out watching for those who needed help.

When Ray reached the building, he saw that it was a homeless shelter called the San Diego Rescue Mission. Ray had once been the director of a men's homeless shelter/hospice in Rhode Island, so it all felt familiar to him. The people inside told him to speak to Brother Mike about his situation, so Ray found Brother's office and went in.

"I explained my story and my need for shelter," Ray says, "and then I told Brother Mike about the two men from the Senior Patrol."

Brother Mike looked startled. "There's no such patrol," he said.

Ray was adamant. He described the two men. Brother Mike called the local police station, placed the phone on speaker, and Ray learned that, indeed, there was no such patrol. "When we got off the phone, Brother Mike questioned me about the two elderly men again, and had me draw a rough sketch of the badge. He sat there quietly for a few moments, until the manager of the intake center came to show me my bed and where I could store my things."

Ray explained that he had been looking for work as a case manager in the social work field.

"It must be divine providence," Brother Mike said, smiling. "We've been running an ad for two weeks, looking for a case manager."

Ray was hired the next day, and never came across those two men or any others wearing the patrol uniform. "But it was certainly divine providence," Ray says today. "And God and His angels are still helping me today."

Joan Anderson Copyrighted by Joan Wester Anderson, used with permission. Originally appeared on the Where Angels Walk website, http://joanwanderson.com

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