Wednesday, August 19, 2009

From Glad To Sad

It was a good feeling earlier today--writing about Jimmy Buffet and Stephanie Kaple. It is a happy story. They are two more reasons why there is hope for reducing and ultimately eliminating homelessness.

Now I must write a story that is not so happy. It furthers awareness that we still have a long way to go. It is about my friend, Bob, who is on the verge of being homeless in Billings, Montana.

Bob is 55, with some heart problems. He lost his job some time ago and his unemployment has run out. He is unable to find steady work. His landlord has told him he must pay--or go.

Bob is trying. Last week he found temporary employment--cleaning stalls at night during the Montana State Fair. It wasn't easy work for a man with a bad heart, shoveling manure from ten at night until dawn. It wasn't easy, but he did it.

Now it is over. The state fair ended Sunday. Today, Tuesday, Bob has nothing in his future but a knock on the door. Where does he go then? To a shelter which has a limit on how long he can stay? Where does Bob go?

Stephanie Kaple.....An Amazing Young Lady!

It was just about a year ago in Key West, while I was awaiting the publication of my book, that I first saw Stephanie Kaple in action. She was happily scurrying around The Bottle Cap, a very nice bar, which was sponsoring a fundraiser to benefit the family program of the Florida Keys Outreach Coalition. Stephanie manages that program. She also works part-time as a hostess at Margaritaville--hence the connection with another homeless advocate, Jimmy Buffett. What is really special is that she went to college knowing that she wanted to use her education to help the homeless. After graduation, she applied for a job with the Florida Keys Outreach Coalition. Fr. Stephen Braddock, President and CEO of FKOC, hired her, and as they say, the rest is history. It would seem that Fr. Braddock, who does a fantastic job in many areas, is also a very good personnel director.

Jimmy Buffett.....An American Icon!

Nearly everyone knows of Jimmy Buffett--the fun-loving troubadour who excites audiences all over the world. A lot of those folks, however, are not aware of the genuine kindness of this "pirate over forty". Those living in the homeless shelter in Key West are well aware of his generosity. Jimmy's bar and restaurant there--Margaritaville-- provides shirts for those in need. They are new shirts, quality shirts, expensive shirts--donated seven boxes at a time.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

My Pal Chipper

There are a lot of reasons I enjoy getting back to Denver--not the least of which is seeing my good friend, Chipper.

On the way to the library, I have to pass through the civic center area, with its manicured green lawns and flower beds. There I occupy a bench for a while, and there I meet up with Chipper.

This morning, like always, he comes up on the bench to greet me. And like always, he stares me down--daring me to say I have nothing for him. I do, and we share the nuts.

I call him Chipper, because until some locals corrected me, I thought he was a chipmunk. My pal, Chipper, is a squirrel.