Thank you to our on-site volunteers: Ger Ronan and Virginia Friedman at LOVE and Jocelyn Craighead, and Aino Assmus and Gerd Diewald at The Last Stop.
The best news of LOVE Park: Some of you may have been following the ongoing saga of Ger Ronan. He is one of our volunteers that happened upon us as he was looking for his homeless friend, Jake. Ger used to meet with Jake every week, until Jake stopped showing up. So, even through Ger moved to Massachusetts, he continued to drive to Philly every weekend, since June, to look for his friend. Week after week, it was disappointment. But he was religious in showing up to volunteer with us.
The first time I met Ger, he showed me a picture and asked me if I had seen this man. I hadn’t. But I encouraged him to talk to the homeless because the community is tightly knit. He started showing Jake’s picture and while some people thought they had seen Jake, it yielded no actual results. When Ger left us last week, he said he was going to the Liberty Bell, the first place he met Jake.
While I was driving to Kensington, I received a picture of Ger and Jake, in real time with a caption that read, “HOLY SHIT.” Indeed, he found him! Today, Ger sent me a message saying he was sitting at his desk, giggling to himself, in disbelief he finally found him.
Ger’s commitment to finding one person defines compassion. I am so grateful to have him on board with Sunday LOVE. I was nearly in tears in my car, feeling just a fraction of what he must have felt when he found his friend. This is what it’s all about. Not just showing love, but going the distance. And in Ger’s case, that is eight hours of round trip driving every weekend. It doesn’t get much better than that. I am so excited to meet Jake next week. He has no idea how many people had eyes on the street for him. His picture has been in my car for months. I have pulled over at random intersections to show his picture. I cannot believe it finally happened.