2011 Homeless Person's Memorial Day in Key West, Florida
Sign in to YouTube
Sign in to YouTube
Sign in to YouTube
Uploaded on Feb 8, 2012
While urging the community to better care for its poorest citizens, the city of Key West, clergy members and the leaders of nonprofits that serve the homeless honored on Wednesday those who died on the streets in 2011.
Conducted for a decade on every Dec. 21 -- the first day of winter and the longest night of the year -- the island's Homeless Persons' Memorial Day this year eulogized 14 men who had endured life on the island's streets without a safe, warm place to call their own.
"They have paid the ultimate price for our nation's failure to end homelessness," said Sam Kaufman, an attorney and board chairman of the Florida Keys Outreach Coalition (FKOC), one of the main sponsors of the service, which drew at least 65 people.
Thirteen of the 14 men named in the ceremony died while homeless in Key West, without blood relatives or friends able to accept their remains. They were: Alfredo Balcells, 81; Charles Linwood Brown, 56; William Constantini, 56; Jeffrey J. Hayden, 58; Michael Wayne Pierce, 51; Thomas Saviano-Finchum, 49; Arthur Dale Baker, 58; Daniel Clay Ratcliff, 50; Edward Botelho, 56; Charles Bruce Davis Jr., 52; Herman Lopez-Trigo Jr., 67; Marvin Allen Tinnell, 62; and Kenneth Neeley, 53.
"They are owed our respect and they ask us now to pass it on to everyone we meet," the Rev. Randy Becker said in his eulogy during the service, held in a grass walkway between rows of white stone tombs at the Key West Cemetery in Old Town.
"For too many there will be the longest night tonight," said Becker, of the Unitarian/Universalist Fellowship. "We are called upon to eulogize these lives by changing our lives, by never turning away from another human face or a simple request for love, care and attention."
J.T. Thompson, creator of the One Human Family motto, said there are many definitions of family.
"The souls we see here today are also our family," said Thompson. "They fell through the cracks and ended up without homes, the first step to a loss of health, self-esteem, relationships and even their lives. There are six degrees of separation between any one of us and any one of them."
Key West last year was one of 152 U.S. cities to sponsor events to honor those who had died homeless.
The service's program noted that some of the homeless who died in 2011 may not be on the list "as it is difficult to gain information on all who died. Some may have been overlooked; a sad reality of homelessness." Others may have yet to be identified, the program said.
"Each one had a personal history filled with joys and sorrows just like us," said the Rev. Thomas Sterner, a program manager at FKOC. "But many had no one to love them or to hold them or hug them."
Sterner expressed thanks to a higher power "for bringing them home where there is no more pain, no tears, no suffering. They finally have found rest."
Those who die indigent or homeless in Monroe County become the responsibility of the county's Social Services Department, which searches for next of kin and owns vaults reserved for their cremated remains.
"What they all had in common were lives deeply impacted by the scourge of poverty and homelessness," said Braddock. "One out of four homeless men sleeping in an alley, a doorway, or in a box has put on a uniform and served our country."
Story by GWEN FILOSA
Staff Writer, Key West Citizen
Video Shot and Edited by Digital Island Media
Standard YouTube License
- 22:10 Let's Help The Homeless in the USA And Orlando Florida with Chains Off Ministries, Inc.by Joseph Romero388 views
- 12:01 The Florida Keys Outreach Coalition - Transforming Homelessness Through Empowermentby Digital Island Media1,689 views
- 4:18 Fantasy Fest 2013 Key West Floridaby FantasyFest201323,547 views
- 8:13 Sunset at Mallory Square, Key West, FL (The Conch Republic)by Gerry Wiseman8,021 views
- 6:38 A day in the life of a homeless person (60 Minutes Exclusive)by SmithtownClub1,564 views
- 38:45 Redneck Yacht Club Mud Park , Punta Gorda , Floridaby HDBroadcaster Dotcom19,722 views
- 2:51 HOMELESS PEOPLE IN FLORIDA HOLDING SIGNS WILL WORK FOR FOOD SOME SAY BEER :}:}:}by veggiepowered2,329 views
- 9:58 U.S. Navy Blue Angels - NAS Key West 2010by Ken Kelly5,996 views
- 6:54 Homeless Wedding Key West summer 2008by pieflsurfer1,205 views
- 14:30 FANTASY FESTIVAL 2012 KEY WESTby Visith Sueksagan77,445 views
- 11:34 Fantasy Fest Night I, Krazy Red in America. Key West Floridaby Krazyredinamerica215,403 views
- 6:53 Keys West Memorial day Weekend Mike Murphy event 2011 video 1 of 3by carmenn407370 views
- 9:18 Hunger and Homelessness in Central Floridaby Steve Miller10,091 views
- 3:17 Feeding The Homelessby Doug Ragland6,065 views
- 4:43 Key West Virtual Tourby ginste268,723 views
- 1:28 Purple Heart recipient Homeless Harry sells the Tampa Epochby True American Story686 views
- 5:10 Fantasy Fest , Key West Floridaby HDBroadcaster Dotcom155,921 views
- 2:59 Take Me Home Documentaryby Famor Botero4,021 views
- 9:59 The Great Rondini - Key West Street Performerby Steadman Pottinger1,779 views
- 8:05 EMOTIONAL & FISICAL SYMPTOMS OF 2012by SOULSYMPHONICS8,196 views
- Loading more suggestions...