The story of John Russelman, the homeless man profiled by Anita Lee in Sunday's Sun Herald, should jolt us all awake.
There are many lessons to be taken away from a story that eloquently allows the reader to try a homeless person's shoes on for size, for those shoes would fit many of us. It's an American tragedy that so many veterans who proudly served their country have wound up on the streets.
It's a bigger problem than the veterans, though. Too many of us are just one financial hiccup away from a camping spot alongside Russelman.
But the real lesson in the story is one of hope. In it we learn than one person can make a remarkable difference in the life of a homeless person.
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The first step toward helping is to admit who these people are. The easy way out would be to identify them as deadbeats, thereby excusing one and all from trying to help those who refuse to help themselves.
And, to be sure, there are deadbeats among them. Just as there are women, children and men, each with a story as unique as any of ours. There are women and children abandoned by their husbands. There are husbands who are trying but can't find work. There are people adrift from one city to the next looking for that opportunity that will lift them off the street.
There are resources available. There are shelters. There are programs. There are good people volunteering their time. Those volunteers deserve our admiration. But most of all, they deserve our participation.
For that is what the homeless need -- you. They may ask for your money on the street corner but what they need is your time, your advice, your helping hand. They might need a ride to an appointment. They might need help with a job application.
It's hard to say what they need unless they're asked.
There are those who claim the government can't do it all. True, it certainly hasn't eradicated homelessness.
But, if more us became personally involved -- perhaps.
This editorial represents the views of the Sun Herald editorial board. Opinions of columnists, and cartoonists are their own.