Street Stories

Weblog of Seattle minister to the homeless Rick Reynolds, Operation Nightwatch

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Location: Seattle, Washington, United States

Caring for human beings seems like the best use of my time, homeless or not.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Homeless Shelter Flood

Emergency call came at the crack of 9:00 a.m. from the substitute shelter manager.

"There's been some sort of disaster, the toilet overflowed, the workers cleaned it up, but there's still water on the carpet."

Oh the humanity.

Then the church janitor reported "toilet paper in the sanctuary!"

Good grief. How bad was the damage, and what the heck's going on.

"sinks plugged too"

Wow, sounds serious.

We go running over to see what is going on. By now it turns out to be simply a plugged toi-toi, easily plunged out, and hair in the P-trap.

No mention of the tp in the sanctuary. I'm imagining some old lady spilling her purse out to find a bit of Kleenex to dab at the eyes after an especially moving choir number?

Just another chapter in my book about janitors who don't know what a toilet auger is.

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Hospitals Dumping the Homeless

They're known as "GOMERS" -- meaning Get Out of My Emergency Room. The hospitals don't want them, the shelters aren't equipped to handle them, and they can't really survive on their own. On CBS 60 Minutes there was a segment recently.

Check it out!


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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Email the Director

OK, several folks tried emailing me this week, but I can't respond if you do that anonymously through the blog. I'll check the options; anyway, let me know who you are by emailing me directly at Nightwatch. Rick

Saturday, May 19, 2007

No Happy Ending

Rest in peace, Tony Pella.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Herchel's Passing

Sadly, Operation Nightwatch lost a true friend with the death this week of Herchel Whetsel.
He came for help about 1995, and never gave up despite loads of physical challenges.
He was a worker, putting in 8 hours a day as a volunteer, passing out numbers so homeless guys wouldn't have to stand in line; sweeping and mopping the floors, cleaning up the neighborhood.
We got him off the street for good, and he moved into our apartment building in 1999.
He never lost his sense of humor, even when the genetic disease made life difficult. "Need anything?" we would ask when heading out the door. "Million dollars," came Herchel's response.
At the end, he was comfortable, sleeping soundly, not moving at all. He is at peace, and we will all miss him.


Thursday, May 10, 2007

Missing Persons

Very distraught father and "uncle" in one of the bars.

The son has been missing since 5th of May. Out drinking with dad, and hasn't shown up since.

Seattle Police know about him.

This pic isn't the missing person I'm talking about, but without the family's permission, can't post it.

These things cross my desk every month, people missing a loved one, maybe on the streets of Seattle. Sometimes there's a happy story. But most the time the person doesn't want to be found for some reason.

The hardest thing is the "not knowing" but then how long can you keep hoping they'll turn up alive?

The drunken reassurance of the babe in the bar probably doesn't do much to calm the nerves.

Peace to all. Rick

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Street Sense Wins Kentucky Derby

In my puny world, it's nice to know that "street sense" prevails.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Homeless family in Seattle

Last night before we opened there was a homeless mom and her 10 year old huddled in the parking lot, trying to keep warm. They came to the front door and asked for some blankets, and we hustled them inside.

My first impulse was to find them a place to go. NO SHELTER WOULD TAKE THEM.

The mom was hacking. "Just pneumonia, I'll be fine." She didn't want to go to Harborview Hospital, afraid they'd take the kid away.

Suddenly, he's crying and projectile vomiting all over the place. Thank God it was just nerves.

I gave up my futile search for resources. I was not going to let these two sleep outside. Father Kim showed up so the two of us loaded them into the car and took them to a downtown hotel for a night.

Wakeup call 7:30 a.m. "Got to get the boy to school in the morning," she explained between coughing fits.