Three of our regular attendees at Many Meals lost their life this past week. Kind of shocking really, but one had a better ending than the others.
Hank Garcia lived at the 12th Street railroad tracks and suffered from diabetes. He had a terrible incision in his leg as the result of a wound but despite poor vision managed to ride his bicycle back and forth. He just gave out after a diabetic episode. Henry was around 50 years old.
Victor Sanchez had been released from jail last Wednesday arrived at Many Meals to help out. He is Pete Reyna’s brother. Victor became ill in the night and was rushed the hospital at 3 am. Doctors performed surgery but it was not successful. He was taken off life support the next afternoon. Medical Examiner has completed an autopsy and it may be a while before results are known. I was able to reach the chaplain at Todd Road Jail in order to make notification to his long-time companion, Lissa Mata, the daughter of one of our volunteers, Hope Mata. This is a time for grieving and much introspection. Victor would be 46 on April 27.
Many will remember Ed Karpinski. He had a stellar career officiating at events for the National Track and Field Association. He was homeless in town for several years, even at the age of 74. He slept on the bench at the Library for a long time and camped at an industrial site over by Ferris Lane. He had some legal business to take care of in Florida that would make him re-eligible for his VA benefits. We provided air fare and transportation. When he came back he worked with County Homeless Services who were able to fast track him into his own apartment. I learned this weekend Ed used me as a reference for the apartment when the Medical Examiner called this weekend to tell me Ed had passed away at home. I also learned the landlord is a friend of mine who rented to Ed, despite everything, because I was listed as a reference. Glen never did call for one. Some Realtor® colleagues delivered some nice furniture to Ed over Christmas and he was home at last.
This is not the way I want these men to end. I pray each day that some kinds word, some expression of encouragement or some faithful responses to who they are in God’s sight provided that cup of cool water that made them feel valued and honored by those fortunate enough to be on their path with them.
On Thursday night, I get to address the local Brownie Troop on our work and why it is important to be nice to people and help them with problems. I’ll be filtering that conversation.
Menu tomorrow is enchilada chicken casserole, red cabbage with sesame dressing, rice from El Pescador, cooked buttered carrots from Garman’s Pub, rolls and butter.
Important notes: Cook Ken Ary is recovering by triple by-pass and heart valve replacement. Cook Ron Handrock is dealing with back pain. Our drug and alcohol counselor, Jim Dexheimer working hard to regain strength after surgery and severe migraines.
Life takes its toll, doesn’t it? It also provides great rewards. Saint Theresa wrote in her book, “The Letters”: It takes a lot of love to do small things. The smaller the task, the greater the love.” True that.