GAYLORD – Steve Ralston has had quite a life. After being born in Pamona, Calif., Steve spent his preteen and teen years growing up in Michigan, which he considers his home.

In college he studied computer science. This was succeeded by 20 years in the U.S. Army doing data processing and other duties. And when he left there, he became an executive at a computer company, spending another 20 years in that position.

Toward the end of his years as a company executive, Steve’s grandfather and mother became sick and could no longer care for themselves. He found himself in the role of caregiver. As the need for care increased, he retired from his executive position in 2012 to give care to his mother and grandfather full-time. Through these experiences he became aware of both the needs of the patient and caregiver.

“It was an eye-opener to say the least,” admits Steve. “You have to make some tough decisions. You have to get together as a family to make estate decisions. And not only did we have one, but we had two. It’s tough enough having one, but having two …. It caused some logistical problems for me and my family. We had to rotate weekends; we had to rotate nights and shifts.

“As this was going on, I was starting to meet a lot of seniors without home care capability. I started to see seniors who didn’t have any family around and I was seeing them decline.”

The situation pulled at his heart and he began getting men’s ministries involved and interacting with these people.

When his grandfather and mother passed away in 2014, Steve decided he should invest in his own company. The question was: What did he want to invest in? His employment experience had all been computer-related, but he wasn’t sure he wanted to go back down that road, even though the offers were there.

In 2008, Steve had stepped forward and given his life over to Jesus Christ at The Hope church in Gaylord. And as he considered his options, he turned to God in prayer and began journaling his thoughts and feelings during that time. He spent seven hours praying over his decision about what to do next with his life.

“At 35 years into my [job experiences], everything I had done that far in my life had been a business decision. Now, I was like, ‘Take this, God, it’s yours,’” says Steve.

“I was going back and forth [in my thinking]. God was telling me, ‘Remember, it is not what you are doing that makes you you. It’s what I brought you through to get you where you are today. Quit seeking the Vice President (V.P.) positions. Seek my cause and your true heart will change.”

Steve admitted before he came to know Jesus Christ in a personal way, money meant a lot to him. As a V.P., he had enjoyed the benefits of making good money while working. Now, he felt God was saying to use his money for His cause.

He did a lot of research before deciding to invest in ComFor Care Health Care Holdings, Inc. Steve’s office in Gaylord offers everything from health care to companionship, hygiene, home care and personal assistance. It reaches out across Northern Michigan to places like Traverse City, Petoskey, Cheboygan and Grayling. And Steve decided to make the organization faith-based at its heart. That first year, ComFor Care won the HLA Sprinter Award for franchise of the year.

Steve does note working with people is always a challenge.

“When you get into families and see the inter-dynamics, it can be very gratifying or very heartbreaking.

We offer prayer. We offer comfort. We have some clients where we could never do it right if we wanted to. Most clients are just very blessed we are there.

“I knew the Lord blessed us. I knew He would grow this business as we continued to give Him the credit. We’ve been growing ever since. So, it’s been very gratifying from a biblical sense.”

For those in search of faith-based home care, Steve can be contacted at (989) 448-2778, Sralston@Comeforcare.com or stopping by the office located at 814 S. Otsego Ave. in Gaylord. For more information, visit their website at www.comforcare.com/northernmi.

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Kurt J. Kolka grew up in the small community of Grayling, Mich., near the forested AuSable River. After majoring in English at college, he began a career in writing and newspapers spanning more than two decades. In his spare time he creates a Christian comic strip, The Cardinal, which has a 28-year history of publication. He has also authored a book, “Bullying is No Laughing Matter” (Front Edge Publications, Ann Arbor, Mich., 2014) and is working on his first novel. Kurt and his wife Diane have been married for more than 25 years and have one daughter, Rebekah, and an overprotective dog, Alli. Of life, Kurt says, “Life is never dull with God at the steering wheel, but, man, does He have a lead foot!” More about Kurt and his musings may be found at www.betweenthepines.org.

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