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Zachary Cole serves homeless, honors mother's memory

By Staff
ELIZABETH HOUSE Hank Goodwin, left, a contractor, and Zachary Cole move lumber Thursday while working on the Elizabeth House, which will be used as a homeless shelter for families. Cole, who named the house in honor of his late mother, said he hopes to have it open by Nov. 1. Photo by Kyle Carter/The Meridian Star
By Steve Gillespie / staff writer
Aug. 29, 2003
Zachary Cole is creating a monument to his mother, Katie Elizabeth Clark Cole, who died in January.
Her monument is a house that is being turned into a homeless shelter for families. It is a place where he said he will never turn his back on people, just as his mother never gave up on him.
The organization to be housed at 2810 26th St. received its nonprofit corporation status in June. Cole hopes to have the house open by Nov. 1. The split-level home will include three bedrooms, one bathroom, one living room, two kitchens and a laundry room.
He said the goal is to have two families living at the shelter at all times. He said there is a greater instance of entire families becoming homeless due to neglect, substance abuse and abandonment issues.
Hank Goodwin is the contractor who is working on the house.
He said he stopped doing things many years ago that would get him in trouble and established a relationship with God two years ago. A phlebotomist at Rush Foundation Hospital, he also is associate pastor of Faith and Deliverance Church in Meridian.
Leon Cole, 65, is Zachary's father. Retired from the U.S. Air Force and recently retired from Mississippi Power, he owns the house on 26th Street and is proud of what his son is doing.
He said his late wife would be proud of their son, too.
Zachary Cole approached the Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors on Thursday to ask for a letter of support for the project. Cole said it would be used, along with a letter he has received from the city, to seek grants.
He said the objective of Elizabeth House is not only to be a shelter for homeless families, but also to help families become independent again by finding permanent housing and offering education programs, job training and placement, spiritual guidance, and anti-substance abuse programs and workshops.
Cole plans to work closely with other established local agencies, such as Multi County Community Service Agency, Wesley House Community Center, Boys &Girls Clubs of East Mississippi and the Mississippi Department of Human Services.
He said health screenings for clients will be performed through Rush Foundation Hospital.
A benefit fund-raiser for Elizabeth House is set for the Boys &Girls Club of East Mississippi, 1717 45th Ave., at 3 p.m. on Sept. 20 . The event will include musical entertainment and dinner. For ticket information call Zachary Cole at 938-0185 or 482-2138.