A friend of mine, Tony, is a bit of a nut about people who are homeless. Some time ago he was looking for a way of being more involved in our community and started helping with Public Action to Deliver Shelter (PADS). Now every week he drops by the local shelter to see if they need help, and twice a month he organizes a team of people to serve meals, clean up and get to know the homeless guests.
One of those two times a month is brand new, as of last night. Until yesterday there weren't enough volunteers to staff the site for the Tuesday/Wednesday of the month. Tony decided that wasn't OK, so he got a bunch of us together and opened the site. This morning he told us that last night one of the guests had a heart attack; they had to pull out the defibrillator and call in an ambulance. To date it's Tony's wildest PADS experience. I wasn't there; I came for breakfast instead: pancakes and precooked bacon. Not nearly so remarkable.
Tonight Tony e-mailed everybody with an arresting realization: the site almost didn't open because there weren't people to staff it, and if the site hadn't been open, a man would have had a heart attack alone, on the street, with no ready access to emergency medical care. Last night a few people sharing a couple of hours with a small crowd of homeless folks were the difference between one man's life and death. Tony wouldn't say this himself, so I'll say it: by getting people together, Tony saved someone's life. So here's to Tony. May his tribe increase.