Day 708: Homeless helping the homeless

I read this story this morning on the NPR news site and it choked me right up. Someone who had nothing, less than nothing, and yet managed to turn his life around and then dedicated it to helping others do the same.

I think more of these stories need to be told.

At Health Care for the Homeless, Simmons helps a man named Ethan. (Photo credit: Gabriella Demczuk for NPR.)

At Health Care for the Homeless, Simmons helps a man named Ethan. (Photo credit: Gabriella Demczuk for NPR.)

Sometimes, the people you’d least expect are those who do the most. People like Tony Simmons, a homeless man in Baltimore who helps others get off the street. Simmons says he does it as much for himself as for anyone else.

Simmons is 53 years old and a former Marine. He’s also a former heroin addict and drug runner and was in and out of jail. Eventually, he hit rock bottom — homeless, penniless, alienated from family and friends.

Two years ago, he says, he was afraid he might die if he didn’t pull himself up. Even then, he knew what he had to do.

“You must start with yourself. Get up. Get going. No excuses. That’s what I tell myself every morning after prayer. ‘Cause every time I help one person, I get a little part of me back,” Simmons says.

Read the rest here.

And what have I done today? Nothing quite as grand as Mr. Simmons. But I did donate some of my clothes to a local group who outfits unemployed people of all ages with clothes they can wear on job interviews, or to those who just need clothing, period. The hardest thing to part with? My shoes. I get separation anxiety when it comes to giving away my footwear. Yes, I know I have issues.

p.s.

Song for the day. This is a Newfoundland singer/songwriter I just discovered, named Amelia Curran… I’ve heard her described as “Leonard Cohen meets Patsy Cline” and I’d have to agree. Enjoy!

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