Saving Mary Cody: One woman's efforts change everything for homeless woman

photo Mary Cody laughs with Nancy Rus after Rus fixed her hair in her Holiday Inn Express hotel room. Rus has been helping Cody, whom she found homeless and ill in Chattanooga.

When Nancy Rus first saw Mary Cody, the woman was slumped, face down on a Market Street park bench.

Her arms hung limp, and a filthy, stainless steel walker stood beside her. Plastic bags, stuffed with urine-soaked clothing and blankets, bulged on the sidewalk.

People walked past. But Nancy thought the woman might be somebody's mother.

So the 64-year-old former Chicago organizational psychologist who retired in Chattanooga paused and started talking to the stringy-haired woman who called herself Mary.

"I couldn't just walk on by," Nancy said.

The woman was 54 and alone and called herself "a walking miracle, saved by Jesus Christ."