Tributes to Donald Brooks

From left to right; Co-founder Ted Henson, NBC Host Leon Harris, Artist Barbara Pollard, Co-founder Lauren Osuri, and former vendor Donald Brooks. Photo courtesy of Ted Henson

Mr. Brooks Brothers 

Donald Brooks was a good friend and ex-colleague of mine from Street Sense and the National Coalition for the homeless. I had a lot of serious and fun times with Donald over the 15 years I have known him. Donald was known for his passion about ending homelessness and speaking on our Speakers Bureau Panel. At one time, he had to have his credentials pulled for going over our decided-upon time we had to speak. 

I gave him the name Mr. Brooks Brothers because of his Gentlemen’s Quarterly (GQ) way of dressing. I even wrote a poem about it, in which he got to share the stage with me at one of our galas several years ago. I recited my poem while he strutted around and primped around the stage in his Brooks Brothers suit.  

I can truly say he was my brother that day. I am going to miss you, until we meet again, Mr. Brooks Brothers.  

James Davis

Felt good to write this, just so sad… 

I have been trying to think of the first time I met Donald, and I really can’t. He just always seemed to be part of Street Sense. He was a vendor, then our first vendor manager of sorts. He just always kind of embodied Street Sense – always telling others about working hard, earning money and getting off the streets. Though I can still hear him say “Laura, Laura…come on now,” as I apparently did get on him about a few incidents and he would always try to kindheartedly sweet talk his way out of everything.  

And even after we both left from Street Sense, both of us would still go back for events and he would always make a point to come and give me one of his big strong hugs, and ask about my husband and kids.  

You will be greatly missed Donald. You were amazing and impactful man. Just wish I could have gotten one more hug…  

Laura Thompson Osuri 

For Mr. Donald Brooks 

I remember one night: I had just started working for Street Sense. Well, the entrepreneur school that I had graduated from needed to advertise a play called “Where Eagles Fly” by Mrs. Carole Mumin.  I asked Donald Brooks and another Street Sense worker to help us.  

After Donald Brooks left Street Sense, he had for years come around the church and I guess he ran into his friends, because he saw me inside often and always told me that he worked for the Veterans Center and could help get me my VA benefits. I saw him for years after that and he was still well-spoken. A real gentleman, especially the way he dressed. He always offered to help me. 

He will be missed by me and many others.  

Patty Smith

A tribute from Co-Founder Ted Henson is available here

Issues |Death

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