When I read about Joy Junction, a homeless shelter established in Albuquerque in 1986, I knew immediately that this was a remarkable story. The recent death of founder Jeremy Reynalds saddened many people, yet at the same time, they also felt such gratitude for his extraordinary presence and the exceptional differences he made in so many people’s lives.
Reynalds had been suffering from cancer for some years and was sixty years old at the time of his death. Born in England, he immigrated to the United States with his wife, Elma. He wrote for the ASSIST News Service and authored several books (Tell Them Who We Are; Two Hearts: One Vision Helping the Homeless Together; From Destitute to PhD: My Homeless Journey). He obtained a master’s degree in communication and a PhD in intercultural education.
Countless people attest to the benefits they received as a result of his efforts. One person spoke of how her drug addiction led to being homeless. She came to Reynalds's shelter and enrolled in the programs offered, which helped her to stop doing drugs and improved her ability to take care of her children. She now plans to get a job and move into her own living quarters.
Another example is a couple who were unable to afford housing in Florida and came to New Mexico with their two-year-old son. They were very pleased that Joy Junction accommodated entire families. The husband found work in construction and is saving money, so that in several months the family can be out on their own.
Chief operating officer Jennifer Munsey, who worked with Reynalds for the last 11 years, said the shelter will continue to operate as usual—fulfilling the vision of its founder: “… to serve the less fortunate, without judging them, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, or personal circumstances.” Notably, this often includes helping those with physical or mental illnesses or addictions. Reynalds's wife, Elma, who had been Joy Junction’s chief administrative officer, has been named by the board of directors as interim chief executive officer.
Jeremy Reynalds was a leader who exemplified a balance of male and female energies. His nurturing of others and his community service surely served as a model to many. Do you know of similar examples of males who have developed such characteristics? If so, it would be an inspiration to others for you to share their stories!