He’s My Hero

November 12, 2007

Ricky and Chris

Meet my friend Ricky, pictured above with our Volunteer Coordinator, Chris Polzer. (Ricky is on the left) Like most of us Ricky is a lot of things. He’s really funny, hard working, dedicated, a vet, a chef and homeless. How and why he became homeless is a story for another time. This story is about where he is in the here and now and the courage it took for him to be here.

Ricky first came to Cooperative Feeding like most people, looking for a hot meal, a shower and some clean clothes. He came looking for that, but he needed more. He needed a place to belong, a place to rebuild, a place to call home. He started off slowly, by volunteering to wash the dishes and lending a hand. Then he started coming in every day as a scheduled volunteer staff member. As time went on he was asked to take on an increasing amount of responsibility. He met each new task with determination and with each new task met he grew in confidence.

Today he is our Chef, getting here bright and early to prepare the day’s meal with careful consideration and kindness. Ricky still has a long road ahead of him, but he has a job, a safe place to sleep and he is in recovery. Under extraordinarily difficult circumstances he did something very few of us could do under ideal circumstances. He took a good long look at himself and his life and had the courage to change.

This Veteran’s Day meet Ricky. He’s a vet, a chef, a friend and my hero.

Happy Veteran’s Day Ricky.

November 12, 2007

Today is Veteran’s Day in the United States. The news is filled with stories of heroics and self-sacrifice juxtaposed with stories of homelessness, mental health issues and limited benefits. Originally this inaugural blog was to be one of those; a banner waving for social justice for those who have sacrificed so much for us. It was to be discreetly published under the agency’s site as more of a commentary. When I thought about the vets I knew – my father, brother, aunt, uncle, coworkers and friends – that seemed so trite, so unimportant, so self-serving. Not at all the reflections one should have in honor of Veteran’s Day. So I’ve decided instead to write a real blog, with my real name and post it where everyone can see it. Not exactly storming the beaches of Normandy, but here goes….

PS – the real blog is next