McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Local News

November 20, 2010

McAlester shelter helps local homeless

McALESTER — Steve LeFlore’s life can be summed up in two military recruiting slogans.

He joined the U.S. Navy in 1975, serving 16 years in an elite helicopter unit. And the Navy’s slogan came true for him: “The Navy, it’s not just a job, it’s an adventure.”

LeFlore was injured in the crash at a base in the Philippines that killed two pilots. He received an honorable discharge and was awarded disability payments for his injuries.

Today, LeFlore is on another mission as director of McAlester’s Good Samaritan Outreach, a homeless shelter for men. His motivation is simple: help down-and-out homeless men earn a new lease on life, urging them to follow the old Army advertisement, “Be all you can be.”

“It certainly has been a challenge, that’s for sure,” LeFlore said. “But things are really coming together. God pointed me in this direction, and told me to get it done. And I listen when He tells me to do something.”

LeFlore, 53, holds deep religious convictions, preaching at Kiowa Methodist Church.

“There’s a tremendous need in McAlester for a homeless shelter,” he said. “There was a shelter for homeless women and their children, but homeless men were being left out in the cold.”

LeFlore said there’s no way to determine exactly how many men in the McAlester area are homeless because numbers fluctuate from day to day.

“They’re probably 50 or so,” he said. “But the number might be higher. We just don’t know. What we do know is that a shelter for men is needed badly.”

For more on this story, see Sunday's print edition of the McAlester News-Capital.

Contact Leo Kelley at lkelley@mcalesternews.com.

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