Strangers no more

Our police know who the so-called regulars are. So do the nurses. And the docs. And the paramedics. And a few business owners. They deal with them every day. And there's no doubt they are a nuisance. And a lot of work.

Our police know who the so-called regulars are.

So do the nurses. And the docs. And the paramedics. And a few business owners.

They deal with them every day.

And there’s no doubt they are a nuisance. And a lot of work.

But, while most people in the community do their best to avoid and ignore these shambling derelicts, frontline emergency staff and a few support workers and samaritans know them as flesh-and-blood people with real names and lives, hopes and dreams.

They see them on their good days. And bad.

And they see them die. Often alone.

Five of them died over the holidays.

Few in the community marked their passing.

Why?

Because at the end of their lives they had been laid low by substance addiction, poverty, physical and emotional turmoil.

But that’s never the full measure of a person who has lived on this planet for 40 or 50 years.

Who are these people?

One was Donald George.

And, as this touching letter from Renate Schmidt shows, he loved crafts. And fishing.

RELATED:Read Renate Schmidt’s letter

He was a helpful individual who knew his way around the woods and could fix an engine if he had to.

At the end of his life, George was a troubled addict, sure.

But that’s only one chapter in the fellow’s life.

As you’ll see, there’s more. There’s always more. The frontline staff know this – they are often the closest thing to family these folks have.

So who was Donald George?

Our community would be a better place for all if we all asked this question a little more often.

Ask the person themselves.

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