Skip to main content

Veterans Day, 2016

Written by Tom Armstrong
November 13, 2016
Article from the Sac Bee.
An article in the Bee, "Homeless veterans hailed at new park," ballyhooed events at Loaves & Fishes honoring homeless veterans and the New Friendship Park, itself, where the day’s event took place. We’re told that a circular fountain was in place in the New Park. Whether it is the new $200,000 Fountain-with-a-Wall that Libby Fernandez has been raising money for, or the fountain with etched names brought over from the Old Park, the article doesn’t say.

We are told that veterans who came to the ceremony were given gold pins and American flags. In a large picture that went with the article, James Guidi is seen having just been given a pin.  He looks pleased. A picture with text on either the black shirt he is wearing, or the strap from a bag he is carrying reads “You are not forgotten.” The caption to the picture says that Guidi is a veteran of the Vietnam War.

I know James. He is an excellent person; a standout among the homeless fellows I have known. He is serious and acts as an adult in Homeless World where many of the guys are seldom serious.

There was a period of time when I was especially aware of James. We were both using the Union Gospel Mission as our shelter and, just coincidentally, we each had bunks for a few weeks in the “islands” [Bunks in the middle of the dorm floor, not set against a wall.], but also close to the entrance door. James made an impression on me then because he would call a woman he was married to (or going with?) each night before “lights out” [i.e., that time when the guys were required to settle in for sleep

I wasn’t listening in to the phone conversations, but from what scraps of talk I heard – and from only James’ side of what was said – the couple had a wholly healthy, compassionate relationship. It was a nice thing. In Homeless World, usually what you hear from couples are words that reflect the pair as being in a long, on-going furious battle. James, contrariwise, is a great, good guy. Everything about him says that. Doubtless, he was an excellent member of the military, way back in the day. A credit to the uniform he wore.

About five months ago, I remember seeing James near the College Green light rail station. He was on a bicycle and had a big American flag with him. Stupid me, I couldn’t think of much to say. Our conversation was stilted and short. But I was very happy to see him.

Another veteran given prominent attention in the Bee article is 22-year-old Joshua Bowman. Bowman made a plea for help that was quoted in the article. Specifically, he sought one-on-one counseling as an entryway for him to escape his homeless circumstance -- and, thus, to pull himself up to a life that is happy and productive.

Many homeless fellows that I know have gotten help from military sources to put their lives on track. Other fellows I know, who have less-than-exemplary military-service records, are not receiving aid from military sources to address their homeless circumstance. These guys do get life-long free medical care as veterans, but are not getting the extra attention they had hoped for to quickly and significantly address their woebegone homeless situation.


Popular posts from this blog

More Homeless Hate from Marcos Breton

There was a long spell a handful of years ago when Marcos Breton said something so fully ridiculous in one of his hateful screeds against homeless folk that it appeared to be very apparent he had been taken off the Homeless Beat by his superiors. Unhappily, after a few months, Breton was again writing disparaging columns about homeless folk

In today's Bee [3/5/17], Breton has written one of his longest columns. Online, it is titled "The price downtown Sacramento is paying for Mayor Steinberg’s homeless crusade
Read more here: It goes on for days. The message, essentially, is this: Homeless people poop; they're getting a great deal of what they want from the overmuch-helpful mayor; and business people proximate to Chavez Park are made miserable by the forever-disgusting homeless that are there in great number.

O.K. Let's get into all this a bit. Except in Breton's mind, homeless pe…

The first-person dimension of homeless Sacramentans suffering from Schizophrenia

"Disabilities and dysfunction process from having been shunned and denied access to needed opportunitites and networks of support."
~ the brothers Lysaker in Schizophrenia and the Fate of the Self What is schizophrenia? How many are homeless Sacramentans?

Perhaps 15% of the Sacramento homeless population suffers from schizophrenia. The percentage is difficult to determine for many reasons that branch from both the fuzzy definition of the malady and that many people within the homeless community who have the illness (1) are in denial and are undiagnosed and (2) have the illness as a diagnosis only – the disability can be faked by people who are successful claimants of social security and other benefits.

What is schizophrenia? One webspace gives us this definition: The most chronic and disabling of the severe mental disorders. Typically develops in the late teens or early twenties. The overt symptoms are hallucinations (hearing voices, seeing visions), delusions (false beliefs ab…

Homelessness and Remembrance

This is a follow-up on the matter of remembering homeless people who have died and the Wall that Libby Fernandez wants to build in remembrance of the deceased. [See earlier blogpost "Tell Libby NOT to build her wall."]

This blogpost is prompted by a Philosophy Bites podcast released in the last couple days -- titled "C├ęcile Fabre on Remembrance." Fabre's take on why we honor or grieve for certain individuals or certain collections of individuals is not greatly helpful -- since his focus is mainly one of fallen war heroes and war casualties -- but it does open up the issue of why should there be a remembrance effort for deceased homeless people at all. Who is served by it? And has the effort been perverted by the avarice of charities in their insatiable drive for donations.

It is, for starters, a curious thing for "homeless people" to be a collective that is honored. I write that NOT because I don't want the best for homeless people. But, homelessn…