A friend of mine Patrick, born and named from St. Patrick’s Day, is one of the reasons I got involved in Street Sense. He impressed me in talking to homeless people, even as we were walking out of a restaurant in his neighborhood after celebrating his birthday. I met him in a support group meeting, which is now defunct. I introduced him to the local community organizing alternative mental health known as consumer operated drop-in centers.
He took on the difficult jobs and became the chair of the local nonprofit board. As time passed and I was active elsewhere, he ‘saved his pennies’ and bought a new car despite having difficulties with driving in the past.
As an older gentleman and former military, he was a slight man with more wisdom, respect and patience than most people I’ve ever known.
He passed away during difficult personal and organizational financial times so afterwards, I started keeping his memory alive, in part, by talking directly with homeless at Street Sense and participating in the newly starting Writer’s Group about a year and a half ago. Besides green beer, reckless binge drinking and a celebration of Irish history, that is how I remember St. Patrick’s Day.
Jerry volunteers with Writer’s Group. NoVAPeers.PBWiki.com contains many of his rants on Mental Health and other issues.