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Today is Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day December 21, 2011

Posted by abhomeless in Events.
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Today is Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day. Held on eve of the longest night of the year, this service commemorates the lives of those who died while homeless in our community in 2011. It also calls us to join together so that no one else has to die on our streets.

Twenty-Five people died this past year alone; even though these were tragedies, there is still hope that arises out of the lives they lived. The tragedy of Mell Ailes’ death on Thanksgiving impacted many who knew him; he had been a staple in the Asheville community and always kept a smile on his face! His warmth touched many hearts, and he always wanted to help anyone in whatever way he could.

The people who died were friends, neighbors, co-workers, and family members in our community.

  • Gerald Hixon found his way from homelessness into housing and had even become a member of the Homeless Initiative Advisory Committee before his health problems, exacerbated by homelessness, caused his untimely death.
  • Ian Pennell was born in Sterlingshire, Scotland in 1947.  He was an accomplished artist and craftsman, specializing in jewelry-making.  For the past twenty-years, Mr. Pennell traveled across the United States, living in his van and selling hand-made jewelry in various folk art galleries and craft guilds while making connections with people along the way.
  • Sharon Ogle was a gentle soul who loved her children and cared for those around her. She was a regular volunteer at A HOPE and was always grateful for the connections she made through the day center
  • Steve Halulko, just 22 when he died, was an energetic, bright young man with charm who loved his friends and noticed the people around him.

Today’s service honors everyone listed below, in addition to those who are not named—those who have had to suffer from health problems, violence, and hunger while homeless.  The service is a joint project between the Homeless Initiative, Homeless Coalition, First Presbyterian Church of Asheville, and the Haywood Street Congregation.  It will take place at 12:30PM today at 297 Haywood St., Asheville NC.  Donations of blankets, hats, gloves, and coats are also welcome at the same location today.

In Memory

Mell Ailes

Jesse Bailey

Charles Davis

Richard Evans

Jeffrey Gault

Steve Haluko

Gerald Hixson

Rhonda Lordman

Chris Mann

Clarence Matthews

George May

Kelly Metcalf

Gerald Morgan

Adrian Nelson

Rachel Nesbeth

Rick Ochoa

Sharon Ogle

Ian Pennell

William Porter

Matthew Ratliff

Vernon Rauch

Destiny Reifschneider

Sandra Smart

Larry Short

William Wing



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