Years ago, Deirdre Mingo, often referred to as “Dee,” made a decision to give her life to Christ. Soon after she became engaged to a minister in her church. Unfortunately she didn’t realize her fiancé had anger and control issues. They had an elaborate wedding ceremony at the insistence of her fiancé and immediately after they were married, he began to abuse Dee and her son emotionally and physically.
The final indignity came when her spouse took her car from her employer’s parking lot while she was working, changed the locks and drained their joint bank account in order to buy himself his own car. Since Dee’s name was on the apartment lease, she was the one with the eviction notice. With her bank accounts empty, she could not pay monthly bills, leaving her and her son homeless and in economic distress.
After a costly and drawn-out divorce, Dee was eventually able to repair her credit and free herself. Her own experience of abuse, homelessness and despair left Dee with empathy for other women who suddenly find themselves without a stable home environment and the avalanche of financial problems which often follow when one has to flee for one’s life. In response, she began working with struggling young women, some of whom she provided shelter for in her home. A couple of young ladies stayed for years and became part of Dee’s family. She served as a lay counselor and workshop speaker in abused women’s shelters and with individuals in the community.
Nine years ago, Dee married Charles Mingo, a supportive man and a licensed preacher. However when a distraught, suddenly homeless woman came looking for help, it quickly became apparent that she could no longer provide temporary shelter to abused women in her home. She reached out to many resources in the city to try to find shelter, but was not able to help the woman and it left her very discouraged. Eventually God showed Dee other ways to help women in distress. In 2015, she founded On Eagles Wings 4UL (OEW4UL). The ‘4UL’ stands “For You Lord.” The basis and inspiration for the not-forprofit organization came from the book of Isaiah, chapter 40:31: “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they walk, and not faint.”
The organization is a gap ministry, according to Dee. “Our objective is to help women get over some hurdles, eventually become independent and able to take care of themselves and their children if they have them in their custody,” she said. “I describe it as a gap ministry because when I looked around, I saw several agencies that were handling the big issues such as housing using the 211 impact system. However there were some other little services I noticed that were not readily available that create distress for a woman in need.”
These gap services include providing assistance creating a resume; providing newly employed women with a bus pass until they receives a first paycheck; or providing temporary rent assistance to someone who has moved too many times and therefore missed a W2 appointment with her case worker.
“We have delivered hot food to those on the street and in some shelters as the need arises, provided clothing,” Dee said “We have been blessed to provide some furniture to a few women who were just getting set up in apartments after coming out of shelters and have provided computer training for older adults who didn’t feel comfortable or motivated to go to the library.”
For the last 3 years OEW4UL has also conducted winter and summer drives to collect items to be distributed to the homeless. These drive are in collaboration with the city of Milwaukee’s P.I.T. (Point in Time) program, which counts the homeless in the city twice a year. Typically when someone contacts OEW4UL seeking assistance, Dee is the one who conducts the initial interview and offers counseling and prayer. Her husband, Charles, also assists in numerous ways, including coming along if a call comes late at night.
“He helps keep me grounded,” Dee said. “Otherwise I will overextend myself.”
In addition to being the founder, Dee is also the director of OEW4UL. She works with a five-member board which also includes a secretary, treasurer, president and an outreach director. Dee said the board collectively decides how and whether to assist women who seek help from the organization. Funding comes from individual donations, outreach drives and monthly contributions from New Testament Central City Church, where Dee and her husband attend. She said on average the organization provides individual assistance to three women per month, and multiple assistance to other homeless women. The need typically increases as the temperature begins to drop, she said.
On the fourth Sunday of most months, Charles preaches at the Milwaukee Rescue Mission for the men’s worship service. Dee loves to conduct the worship service with him. The couple are also active in the outreach ministry with New Testament Central City Church. “During the warmer months we go out and knock on doors to connect with the neighbors in the surrounding area and clean up the neighborhood,” she said. “One of the biggest outreach events that New Testament Central City Church conducts is the neighborhood outreach.”
“Rather than doing everything ourselves at OEW4UL, we collaborate with other organizations and churches,” she said. “OEW4UL has been a resource for single women who have reached out to New Testament Central City Church for help.”
On Eagles Wings 4UL is not Dee’s full-time job. She has worked for more than 40 years in software information services. Currently she is a senior software consultant to large companies. She said she provides high-level analysis for systems and applications and documents the requirements in a way a software developer is able to code for what the client needs developed and testers are able to validate.
Dee earned a certificate in total business from the Milwaukee Business Training Institute which merged with Milwaukee Career College. She also attended classes at UWM and MATC. She was born in Jackson, Mississippi. She and her family relocated to Milwaukee when she was five years old and she has lived here ever since. She and her husband have three children: Sean, Ramone and Duntra.