As people lose their jobs, houses,
families, and futures during this economic crisis, I remember a time
when I lived in a car. Cost saving measures led to my company to
dismiss me, and I became homeless. I had always worked, so I had no
knowledge about the resources that would help me better my
condition. I didn't know the first place to go to feed my aching
stomach. So, I slept in my car most of the day to forget my misery.
One morning, a homeless man knocked on my car window and asked if I was hungry. He directed me to a line of at least 14 people waiting for lunch bags. As I sat in a corner eating, I learned that the man giving out the food was named “Viet Nam,” and that he had been in a similar situation when he returned from the War.
Without “Viet Nam’s” dedication and sacrifice when I was a homeless veteran, I would have still been hungry. His actions inspired me to carry on this work in the streets of Chicago. My life of compassion started at 43 W. 60th Street on Chicago's South side. My father created a garden to supplement our income. I worked that garden along side him. During harvest we would gather our vegetables to sell. I remember a gentleman came to purchase food for his family. My father sensed he couldn't afford to buy our vegetables. He set up a distraction. Then he pulled me to the side. And said to me, " son put his money back in the bag with the vegetables". The man returned thinking my father had made a mistake. My father told him, keep your money I may be selling food to you. We are in the same position, struggling to survive.
My street outreach journey take me to places. Where no one would imagine a human being would stay. The mission of our street outreach is to constantly adjust and provide services to those who are hidden in plain sight.
President / Outreach Coordinator
U.S. Navy Veteran
2023 Peace Run Torch-Bearer Award
2023 Red Cross Military Hero Award
" I have this theory that if one person shows compassion to another person then that person will start a chain reaction of the same."