By Jeremy Reynalds, Senior Correspondent, ASSIST News Service (firstname.lastname@example.org)
LYNCHBURG, VA (ANS-April 15, 2017) — We all have stories, and Craig Daliessio was no exception.
He was a successful mortgage banker in Nashville TN. Then when the economy collapsed in 2008, his career and personal life tanked.
According to a news release, Daliessio then lost his home.
At the same time, Daliessio said, his daughter’s life was becoming more and more unstable as her home life became increasingly problematic. Unable to find work and refusing to leave his daughter behind in a horribly unstable situation, Daliessio decided to stay in town. It was a decision that required him to sleep in his car, shower at the county recreation center, and take any odd jobs he could find.
It was a courageous choice. What would you have done?
In his book Nowhere to Lay My Head: The True Story of a Homeless Dad, Daliessio relates the six years he spent as a homeless dad. He said it was a time that while breaking him down, rebuilt the faith he had held on to all his life.
In an email interview, I asked Daliessio what was the most encouraging part of his homelessness.
He said it was the response from Franklin Fellowship, the men’s Bible study that meets weekly in the home of Nascar legend Darrell Waltrip.
He added, “Those men were true brothers in Christ and never let me give up. That and rediscovering my passion for writing.”
Speaking in the release Daliessio said, “There were plenty of moments when I questioned God, doubted His presence of the truth of His plan. Ultimately, He gave me enough strength to endure another day…and another day after that, until six years had come and gone. This was my desert walk, my long dark night of the soul, and it hurt. To say otherwise would be a lie. The pain was where I was being reshaped and rebuilt. God did have a plan; all I could do was hold on to the truth of the Gospel until He saw it through.”
I asked Daliessio if he had any idea why God allowed him to go through such a grueling period.
He said he doesn’t entirely know, adding “I also know He doesn’t owe me an explanation. But my inclination is that He knows my strengths. He knows the talents He gave me.”
Janet Rose, morning host of WLNI radio in Lynchburg said about the book, “Craig is the rare author who can break your heart, and inspire your soul at the same time.”
Dave Ramsey, nationally syndicated Christian Financial Expert said in the release, “Life is an adventure, and my friend Craig has proven that several times over. We all love people who are overcomers and especially when they get real about their story. This story is riveting and you will not put it down; when you finish you will be inspired. As you will read, Craig and I became friends in a most unusual way and this book is a testament to never quitting.”
During his time of homelessness, Daliessio said he was hired three times for new jobs, and as many times was unemployed again when these companies ceased operations as the economy continued to crumble. He built chicken coops and pressure washed houses. He washed windows and cut grass. He also refused government assistance and what he called “handouts.”
Even while battling homelessness, he returned to college and graduated with an undergraduate degree.
I asked Daliessio if any of his fellow students were at Liberty University were aware of his homelessness, and whether they offered help.
He said he quit Liberty University as a residential student at the end of the 1995/1996 school year, and when he returned to complete his degree it was in the online program, so he never met anyone face to face. That was in Aug. 2009, and he graduated in May 2012
He added, “Completing my degree was the only thing about my life that felt ‘normal’ at the time. I didn’t want to become ‘the homeless college student.’ I also didn’t want preferential treatment from my profs. I just wanted to do my work like everyone else. Jerry Falwell Jr. knew about it as early as 2010, through some friends we have mutually. He actually emailed to see about helping me, but I told him I was okay.”
Today, he is a business relationships manager at Liberty University, where his daughter is a sophomore. She lives with her dad, whom she considers a hero because he never quit.
I recommend you buy Daliession’s book and check out his story. It will give you an amazing insight into the courage and perseverance of one man who never gave up.
For more information visit www.craigdaliessio.com.
Photo captions: 1) Book cover 2) Craig Daliessio. 3) Jeremy and Elma Reynalds.
About the writer: Jeremy Reynalds, who was born in Bournemouth, UK, is a Senior Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service, a freelance writer and also the founder and CEO of Joy Junction, New Mexico’s largest emergency homeless shelter, www.joyjunction.org. He has a master’s degree in communication from the University of New Mexico, and a Ph.D. in intercultural education from Biola University in Los Angeles. One of his more recent books is “From Destitute to Ph.D.” Additional details on the book are available at www.myhomelessjourney.com. His latest book is “Two Hearts One Vision.” It is available at www.twoheartsonevisionthebook.com. Reynalds lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico with his wife, Elma. For more information, please contact Jeremy Reynalds at email@example.com.
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