Stories from the Basement

Stories from the Basement #5

By Donna Clark RN, Director

Clients who are seen here at H.O.P.E., Inc. remain in our hearts long after they have moved on. It’s the end of a busy year and a certain few stand out in our memories.

Taz was a man who had a sense of humor and would bring a smile to our faces every time he walked into the office. He was a client for many years and when he died it impacted us all. He had been clean and sober for many years and when he received permission from his doctor to become his own payee things became very difficult for him. A payee is someone who the Social Security Administration has deemed responsible enough to handle the monthly Disability check. Taz’s payee paid his rent and utilities and gave him spending money on a weekly basis. Once he began to handle his own money he lost his apartment, went back to alcohol and was found dead by the railroad tracks after two years of being independent from supervision. I have to say he was one I cried over.

Another memorable person we have seen is a man who has been in the Salisbury area for years. You have seen him with his dog as they panhandle for money and the dog charms all who meet her. The special couple (man and dog) has stolen our hearts and his story is one to twist your heart strings. He receives a small monthly check, pays his rent and utilities but doesn’t always have enough to stretch through the month. Although his money is tight he will give money to anyone he knows is in need; sometimes cutting himself short on money. One Christmas he gave gifts to all who have helped him. I still have the gift he gave me in a special place in my office. That same year he spent money for two people newly homeless to stay in a hotel for two weeks until they were able to find a shelter that had space for them. He has had a mentor for several years now and been able to keep the roof over his head. He recently has encountered very bad health issues and we ask you to keep him in your prayers as he is facing a very long difficult time. Thanks to those who love unconditionally, he is in good hands and so is his dog.

The point of this article is to remind you that we are all God’s children and no matter what our circumstances are, He loves us. Let His light shine through you and share your smile with that stranger. Let His love flow through you and listen to his guidance.

Have a safe and Happy New Year!