My name is Tami “Parker” Hochhalter and my husband Lowell and I attended and met at Northwestern in the 1980’s. It seems like a lifetime ago, and then again, like yesterday. Lowell represented the Eagles on the football field, he was a proud member of the “Fun Bunch”, and he also played a pretty mean game of intramural basketball. I was a cheerleader and active in as many things as I could fit into my day and was a very regular customer at the Eagles Nest.
Northwestern holds a very special place in our hearts. We made lifelong friendships and also started down the path of figuring out “what we wanted to be when we grew up”. It is also where we made our relationship with the Lord our own. When we think back to our days at Northwestern, what comes to mind is fun, friendship, and memories––some make us smile and laugh, others may bring a tear or two, but they are all great memories and we feel blessed to have had those days at Northwestern.
After graduating from college, we spent many years in Youth Ministry and then presenting school assembly programs across the United States and Internationally. Ten years ago, God led us into ministry with victims and survivors of human trafficking. It is not a ministry we saw ourselves in––or one we would have picked for ourselves––but God has lead us every step of the way and given us the opportunity to rescue and restore some of the most amazing individuals we have ever met. It is indeed a difficult calling but one that is more rewarding than we can put into words.
We have worked in anti-trafficking for over 10 years but 3 years ago God lead us to go out on our own and start The LifeGuard Group. When we learned that every hour, 34 more individuals enter a life of sexual exploitation, we were motivated to act. The human trafficking numbers continue to grow exponentially every year, with nearly 30 million estimated being exploited world-wide and 2 million within the United States. On average, over 460,000 missing child reports are made to law enforcement every year in the United States. Some are runaways, some were taken and still others seemed to simply vanish. Research studies have shown that 75% of those kids that end up on the street are approached by a pimp and/or a trafficker in the first 48 hours. Law Enforcement neither has the time nor the man power to conduct missing kid searches. But we do and we can! The Mission of the LifeGuard group is to respond, rescue, revive and restore victims of human trafficking. One of the biggest challenges that we face is the lack of beds available in the United States for human trafficking victims, and the lack of programs that will restore them to the place where they are ready to make a clean start on their own. God heard our prayers and we are currently under contract for a beautiful safehouse property. It is absolutely perfect for us. Please remember us in your prayers as we are due to close on the property in January.
If any of you would like to learn more about our ministry and our work with survivors or if you would like a sneak peak at THE LIFEHOUSE, please check out our website, thelifeguardgroup.org.
Have an incredible Holiday Season and GO EAGLES!
Lowell and Tami Hochhalter, Class of 1985