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News 3 Neighbors: Thomas Ahr

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COLUMBUS, Ga. -

   On Monday mornings you will find Thomas Ahr helping the homeless.  He's a volunteer with the Open Door showering program.

   Tom makes sure those coming in for a morning shower have what they need...towel, soap, razor.  He feels this is the niche that suits him to a tee.  "About five-and-a-half years ago I decided I really wanted to start giving back to the community.  I feel blessed.  I feel fortunate.  And I know there are so many people in the community who are not as fortunate," Ahr says.

   Tom is self-employed in the real estate business which allows him the flexibility to volunteer.  He describes the showering program as unique.  "If you are street homeless, where to you take a shower?  How do you clean yourself?"

   Within a two-to-three hour period in the mornings, some 30 to 45 individuals come to the showering facility just behind Open Door Community House.  Tom says, "The overwhelming majority of the people I come in contact with are so appreciative of a hot shower, and in the summer time an air-conditioned place to sit for a few minutes."

   Another volunteer who helps with the showering program is Frank Cylstra.  He does his magic with the clippers giving haircuts and trimming beards. 

   Both Frank and Tom believe in paying it forward.  Tom says, "I really believe that you do get more than you give when you try to do the right thing.  I feel as though they bless me probably more than I've blessed them, or hopefully have helped to bless them."

   When Tom finishes with the showering program he heads up the hill to the Homeless Resource Network to pitch in there for a few hours. 

   Tom says he called United Way to get some suggestions on where he could volunteer.  He's thankful he did.

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